Tough work for MontpellierArticle
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The French champion, Hamburg and Flensburg take last three places in the Quarterfinal of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League.

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Tough work for Montpellier

The pots for the draw on Monday are composed: After the second leg of the Last 16 the eight participants of the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League are known – and seven of them played the Quarterfinals in last season (except Flensburg). After Kiel and Rhein Neckar Löwen had already qualified, Hamburg and Flensburg complete the German quartet. Aside two Spanish teams (Ciudad Real and Barcelona) and each one from France (Montpellier) and Russia (Chekhovski Medvedi) have reached the Quarterfinals.

But Montpellier had to struggle hard to eliminate Schaffhausen after the 26:31 defeat in the first match by an 35:27 on home ground. Hamburg and Flensburg took their second victories in this round. In the end all group winners from the first stage have jumped over the next hurdle. Three teams from “hammer group A” (Kiel, Löwen and Barcelona) have also reached the Quarterfinals.

On Monday evening the draw for the next round will be staged in Vienna – and those is the composition of the two pots:

Pot 1: THW Kiel (GER), Renovalia Ciudad Real (ESP), Montpellier MAHB (FRA), Chekhovski Medvedi (RUS)

Pot 2: HSV Hamburg (GER), FC Barcelona-Borges (ESP), Rhein Neckar Löwen (GER), SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)

The draw will be shown free of charge on live from 18.30 hrs local times.

Last 16, leg 2, Sunday’s matches:

Montpellier MAHB – Kadetten Schaffhausen 35:27 (21:14)

They needed a six goal advantage – and it took Montpellier hard work not to get eliminated by Schaffhausen. Like in 2010 the French champion has reached the Quarterfinals and for Kadetten the dream is over even as they fought brave in the lion’s den of Montpellier.

The host – again with Accambray, Tej and Hammed – could not increase the gap early as they caused several mistakes in attack. But after the 10:8 their engines got started as now Schaffhausen gave too many balls from their hands. At the score of 16:10 the six goal advantage had been reached for the first time and even before the break the French increased the gap to eight goals (21:13).

But one thought that the Swiss team will resign was totally wrong. Right after the break they improved in defence the same way as Montpellier missed chances. Suddenly the lead had melted to 23:20 in minute 38. In minute 45 it were still “only” four goals before Montpellier took the control again and switched the result to 30:22 in minute 49. But Schaffhausen still did not surrender: At the score of 31:24 they missed several chances – in case they would have scored the sensation would have been possible again.

Montpelier then finished the match in a sovereign manner – and danced on the field after the final whistle was blown.

Statements after the match:

Patrice Canayer, coach Montpellier: I thank my team the same way I thank Schaffhausen – and I thank the referees who did a good job in this difficult match. I am proud of what my players did especially in the period when Schaffhausen improved after the break. We always had the right answers. One saw that it is important to have the alternatives for rotations as those brought us the victory. In the end my players rocked the arena and the spectators were vibrated by the team.”

Issam Tej, player Montpellier: “We were focused on this victory for the whole 60 minutes. Even as Schaffhausen reduced the gap we remained concentrated. We gave a collective answer this night.”

Cuatro Rayas Valladolid – HSV Hamburg 33:35 (16:19)

Thanks to their absolute will to win the Germans have not only reached the Quarterfinals, but took the second victory against Valladolid. After the 28:22 in Hamburg they also stood like a wall against the Spaniards and 7000 spectators. The game was a 60 minute long tough fight for every centimetre. Even when Valladolid took the lead after the break the tactical possibilities of HSV were decisive for the final result. Top scorers were Havard Tvedten with nine goals for Valladolid and Hans Lindbergh who scored eight times for Hamburg.

After an equal start the German went away to four goals at 11:7 for the first time – and nearly kept this distance until the break. In minute 38 the host took the lead at 22:21 and did not give it from their hands until minute 53 when HSV equalized at 30:30. In the meantime the gap had been not more than two goals. But thank to a final sprint and five straight goals from 30:32 to 35:32 Hamburg decided the game.

Statements after the match:

Martin Schwalb, coach Hamburg: „We had enormous respect for Valladolid and the audience. The Spaniards have a strong team, so we are absolutely happy to have won this match. In the beginning we had some defence problems, but could compensate this with our counter attack goals. My players fought until the last second and deserved this victory.”

Juan Carlos Pastor, coach Valladolid: “We were weak in defence in the first half and caused too many mistakes to win this game. Thanks to this great audience and their support.”

Blazenko Lackovic, player Hamburg: “It was our first objective to start well – and we reached it. But it was even more important to return when the crucial time of the game had begun and Valladolid was in lead very often. We are the deserved winner.”

Havard Tvedten, player Valladolid: “The audience was even more than the eight man for us. We wanted to win, but the opponent was stronger. The key were the high number of mistakes in our attack.”

SG Flensburg-Handewitt – Pick Szeged 33:20 (18:8)

The first match was on the edge, the second leg an easy going evening for Flensburg: One week after winning 27:26 in Szeged the Germans demoralized their opponent in an absolutely clear way. Thanks to their strong goalkeepers Beutler and Rasmussen they left the Hungarians without a chance. Aside wing player Anders Eggert played brilliant and scored 14 goals.

Szeged could only cope with the Germans in the starting period until the 5:3. Minute by minute Flensburg extended the gap goal by goal. Led by Austrian Viktor Szilagyi Flensburg played cat and mouse with their opponent and decided the game with a ten goal difference at the break very early.

Latest when Maxim Butenko received a red card after a foul against Jakob Heinl the last will of Szeged was broken, the Hungarians were frustrated. One highlight for the host was the comeback of Thomas Mogensen after his two month injury break – and the fact that they remain unbeaten on home ground.

Statements after the match:

Ljubomir Vranjes, coach Flensburg: “The first half was the optimum you can play, everything ran perfect. A match cannot run better than we did this evening.”

László Skaliczki, coach Szeged: “We were much too hectic and insecure in attack – and this had effects on the whole team.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen