Double German victoryArticle
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Kiel and Flensburg win their away matches in the first leg of the Last 16.

Double German victory

Three matches including German teams, three victories – this is the balance after the first legs matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16. Hamburg beat Valladolid on Thursday, Kiel had no problems against Kolding and Flensburg were the lucky winners in Szeged.

Last 16, first leg:

KIF Kolding (DEN) – THW Kiel (GER) 29:36 (16:17)

Reigning champion, THW Kiel, paved the way to the Quarterfinals in Kolding. After a draw last season now the Germans took control of the game after the break – and now take a seven goal advantage to the return match on home ground. Top scorers were Filip Jicha (9 for Kiel) and Lukas Karlsson (8 for Kolding).

2830 spectators was a season record for the Danes – and the fans were hoping for another surprise up to the break when the THW lead was only one goal. Kolding were able to hold their own in the first half, and thanks to three straight goals the Danes equalized at 11:11.

Nothing changed until minute 43 – then the THW got their engines started, improved in defense and after taking the score to 25:21, the Germans were absolutely dominant – led by the young Icelandic Aron Palmarsson. The last sign of KIF life was at 23:26 before THW scored a 10:4 series up to the end. The best Kolding player was goalkeeper Anders Petersen with 15 saves.

Pick Szeged (HUN) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 26:27 (12:9)

Kiel’s Nordic rival SG Flensburg have good chances of making the next round after winning in Szeged, and despite their injury problems.

In an equal and tense match, the Germans were the lucky winners in the end, though Pick could leave the court with their heads held high after a strong performance.

Both keepers – Robert Mikler (Szeged) and Dan Beutler (Flensburg) - left their mark on the game with their saves. Top scorer were David Katzirz with six goals for Pick and Anders Eggert with eight for Flensburg.

The Germans had the better start but after their 4:3 lead Pick improved and scored four straight goals. The Hungarians remained in the lead until the break – temporarily with four goals differences. And until minute 48 they were in front the whole time as Flensburg caused too many technical mistakes.

Beutler spread self confidence through his team mates by saving a penalty shot at 20:19 for Pick – and right afterwards Flensburg equalized and took the lead again at 22:21 in minute 50. But nothing was decided as Szeged fought back, scored twice and levelled the match six minutes before the end at 24:24. But two goals from Lasse Svan Hansen and another by Eggert decided the game in the final minute – the last two Szeged goals meant only cosmetics.

Statements after the match:

László Skaliczki, coach Szeged: “We played against a strong, well prepared opponent, it was difficult to find the solution against their hard play. In the second half we could not do anything against Viktor Szilágyi, and our defense were not on Champions Leaguelevel in this stage. We were not similar to the Pick Szeged who played against the Valladolid.”

Ljubomir Vranjes, coach Flensburg: “We wanted to win even if we had only a few players. We were afraid of that our strength wouldn’t be enough until the end. That is why I changed the players very often, I tried to let them have a rest some times. Our players showed a great will, I congratulate to them. But now it’s only half time in the Last 16.

David Katzirz, player Szeged:After a bad beginning we improved and it seemed that the result of our work become visible. In the second half we collapsed. Although the Flensburg arrived with only eleven players those are very good, internationally famous players. Despite this defeat I am optimistic regarding the next match.

Mocsai Tamás, player Flensburg: “Before the match and also now I think that this fight will be decided in the second part of the Last 16. At the beginning we caused too many technical faults. After that we pulled ourselves together we could win the match. It was a great pleasure to play in Szeged since I have nice memories from my childhood.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen