Hamburg and Zagreb start with victoriesArticle
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No surprises in the first two matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase.

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Hamburg and Zagreb start with victories

Thanks to more or less clear victories Zagreb (against Sävehof) and Hamburg (against St. Petersburg) are the first winners of this VELUX EHF Champions league season.

Group A

RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. Sävehof IK (SWE)  30:26 (16:12)

For the Swedish champions it was one of the best matches on international ground ever, for Zagreb it was a normal victory. Despite a strong fight of the Swedes, the Croatian champions were the first winners of the Group Stage in this VELUX EHF Champions League season.

Eight goals of Horvat and seven hits of Kopljar paved the way to this victory, which meant a long struggle for Zagreb. The hosts lead 16:12 at the break and were expected to increase this margin in the second half, but Sävehof stood strong - thanks to six goals of Friden - and could hope for the sensation until minute 50. But due to their individual class Zagreb took hold of those two first points.

Group C

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. HC St. Petersburg (RUS)  32:20 (15:10)

Easy going for the Germans: Thanks to a concentrated performance and a huge number of saves of goalkeeper Johannes Bitter Hamburg did not have any problems in beating the Russian runners-up clearly. Best HSV scorer was Matthias Flohr with six goals in the first ever match of Renato Vugrinec for the German champions. Nasirow scored four times for St. Petersburg.

HC St. Petersburg’s coach Dimitri Torgowanow took his time-out after only four minutes when Hamburg was in lead 4:0. But nothing changed, HSV increased the gap goal by goal to 15:10 at the break and 18:11 in minute 34 when the winner was already known. Nine minutes before the end the distance was ten goals for the first time (26:16), in the end it were twelve goals.

Statements after the match:

Per Carlén, coach Hamburg: "The spectators enjoyed the game, especially as our defence including extra-ordinary goalkeeper Johannes Bitter stood well – it was a good sign that we are on the right way."

Dimitri Torgovanov, coach St. Petersburg: "A good start would have been important, but we did the exact opposite. We are young and we learned a lot, but you only can beat HSV when you do not cause any mistakes. But goalkeeper Bitter forced us to make those mistakes."

TEXT: Björn Pazen