Barca take the fortress KielArticle
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Two Spanish teams complete the VELUX EHF FINAL4: Barcelona win second leg against reigning champion, too, Ciudad Real through to Cologne despite defeat.

Barca take the fortress Kiel

Two German and two Spanish teams play for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 trophy: After HSV Hamburg and Rhein Neckar Löwen had made their way to Cologne on Saturday, FC Barcelona-Borges and Renovalia Ciudad Real complete the most important tournament in the club handball on 28/29 may. After winning against Kiel on home ground Barcelona also took the fortress Sparkassen-Arena. Ciudad Real had built their base with the 38:24 away victory in Flensburg, so the defeat on home ground did not hurt.

The draw for the semi finals is on Monday in Cologne.

Quarterfinal, second leg:

THW Kiel (Germany) – FC Barcelona-Borges (ESP) 33:36 (15:19)

They celebrated their decisive victory with dances on the field and they took the final revenge for the final defeat of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2010: FC Barcelona-Borges totally dominated the game against a weak opponent, which was never close to endanger the Catalans in the whole 60 minutes. After the 27:25 home victory, Barcelona played outstanding with clearly more options in attack and a strong defence.

Kiel had to replace Daniel Narcisse which meant a decisive weakening of the attack – but this fact was not the key for this home defeat. Attended by 10.250 spectators Kiel led until the 6:5 before the number of mistakes in attack arose immediately. Kiel missed too many shots and lost too many balls, as Barcelona goalkeeper Danijel saric saved brilliant. On the other hand Barcelona punished every Kiel mistake by counter attacks or by goals by Jesper Noddesbo from the pivot position. Thanks to four straight goals the Catalans took the lead at 9:6 and extended it easily to 18:12 in minute 26.

Kiel fought back until the break but it was hard to break the Barcelona wall, as THW goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer had a black day. At the break the distance was four goals – but in addition with the first leg Kiel was already below six goals. And due to a brilliant Barca start and some crucial goals of top scorer Siarhei Rutenka (in total eight goals) the last hopes of Kiel had been down at the 15:23 in minute 35. The last fire burned when Andreas Palicka replaced Omeyer and saved some shots. At the 20:25 the hall went crazy, but the fire was gone only after a few minutes, when Barca had found their pace and rhythm again. Latest at the 23:31 the Quarterfinals had been decided. In the last eleven minutes Barcelona decelerated so that the final score did not mirror the dominance of Barcelona. Best THW scorers were Momir Illic and Marcus Ahlm with each eight goals.

Statements after the match:

Xavi Pascual, coach Barcelona: “We played brilliant and all my players gave their heart and soul to win here. We knew that it will be a tough match, but we showed class and pride on the field.”

Laszlo Nagy, player Barcelona: “We knew that it will hard to go to Cologne, but we managed to control the game from the first to the last minute.

Xavier O’Callaghan, manager Barcelona: “I am very proud of my team. It is a great success to beat the reigning champion and to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 again. Especially the way we achieved this success makes me proud. We do not have a wish for the semi final, as all three opponents represent world class. Being there is a big success.

Alfred Gislason, coach Kiel: “We could have played better in this hard task against Barcelona and we must have played better to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Our defence was too weak and the goalkeeper’s performance of Barcelona was much better.”

Marcus Ahlm, player Kiel: “We played very bad and this was not enough to go on to Cologne. We lost too many balls in attack and were weak in scoring. The Barcelona counter attacks have broken our neck and we were to slow in going back to the defence.”

Dominik Klein, player Kiel: “We all wanted to return to Cologne, but we failed. Barcelona imprinted the match completely the same way it was our objective to imprint the match.”

Filip Jicha, player Kiel: “It is hard to find some words after this match, but Barca was clearly better than us.Little things decide such games and the number of little disadvantages on our side was too high.”

Renovalia Ciudad Real – SG Flensburg-Handewitt 21:22 (9:13)

Big surprise by SG Flensburg-Handewitt, first home defeat for Renovalia Ciudad Real in the VELUX EHF Champions League since 2008, but this defeat did not have a meaning for the current Spanish champion as they had won the first leg 38:24.

Flensburg which had to replace several players started surprisingly strong as Ciudad Real did not find their rhythm in attack. Flensburg extended the lead to 11:6 in minute 27, before Ciudad Real reduced to 9:13 at the break. Thanks to six straight goals they went away to 15:13 and everybody expected that the Germans would resign from that moment on. But in contrast Flensburg fought hard and kept up with the Spaniards, equalized at the 17:17 again and took the lead at 18:17 again. Thanks to their strong fighting spirit and the weak performance of Ciudad Real the Germans finished their international campaign with a surprising victory, as Ciudad Real reached the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the second time.

Following this weekend’s decisive second leg matches in the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League, the four participants of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 are known:

With Renovalia Ciudad Real (ESP), FC barcelona-Borges (ESP), Rhein neckar Löwen (GER) and HSV Hamburg (GER) the event on 28-29 May will see two of last year’s participants and two newcomers.

The VELUX EHF FINAL4 Press Conference (14:45 hrs CET) and Draw (15:00 hrs CET) will take place at KölnSKY on Monday 02 May 2011 in Cologne.

The draw involves four balls and one pot, the balls are drawn one by one, the first and the second pair meet in the Semifinals.

Please note that the two Semifinals are not automatically allocated to the playing times 15:15 and 18:00 hrs (all local times). The allocation will be published following the coordination of TV requirements.

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TEXT: Björn Pazen