Danish dynamite on the roller coasterArticle
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Kobenhavn beat Montpellier and celebrate third victory, Madrid take the hurdle Berlin and Kielce overtake Chekhov, as Hamburg was close to fail at Koper on Sunday.

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»Group Phase

Danish dynamite on the roller coaster

Four Rounds of the VELUX EHF Champions Legaue have been finished, now the king’s class of European club handball will have a short break until 16 November.

But already some decision had been taken after in total 40 Group Matches. Only two teams have taken the optimum of eight points from four matches: FC Barcelona Intersport in Group A and lucky winner HSV Hamburg in Group C after their 24:23 thriller at Koper. AG Kopenhavn have the late chance to do the same, as their match against THW Kiel was postponed to 18 December.

The Danish champions have proved their strength on Sunday by beating Montpellier MAHB– their third victory.

Aside Atletico Madrid have defended their lead in group C by winning at debutant Füchse Berlin and remain on top with seven points. Kielce have made their second straight victory and overtook Chekhov in this group, as Szeged took their first victory of the season at Vrsac.

Group B:

Vive Targi Kielce (POL) – Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) 37:29 (12:14)

The Polish runners-up is back on track: Thanks to their second straight victory Kielce overtook Chekhovskie Medvedi in the table and is ranked fourth now, two points ahead of Medvedi. The Danes are still waiting for their first point after Round 4.

The Poles had broken the resistance of Bjerringro already before the break, when they went to the dressing rooms with a seven goals margin. The Balkan duo Denis Buntic (nine goals) and Rastko Stojkovic (eight goals) were the key figures for Kielce, who had no problems to control the Danes in the second half.

Füchse Berlin (GER) – Atletico Madrid (ESP) 33:37 (15:17)

Atletico Madrid remain on top of this group after teaching a little lesson to the German debutant Füchse Berlin: Like on Saturday, when Leon tied against Kiel, the German sides could not beat the Spaniards in this Round. Madrid are still unbeaten with seven points, as the Foxes lost their first ever match of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

8763 spectators saw a match on a high level with speed, dynamics and in total 70 goals in 60 minutes.Especially in the second half Madrid was one class better than the host. Until the break the match had been equal, as Füchse goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter made some great saves.

Thanks to their offensive defence system the Spaniards intercepted several passes after the break – one key to the clear success. But the host fought hard – and was close again at 28:31, before the individual stronger Spaniards decided the game.

Top scorer was Berlin’s Polish international Bartlomiej Jaszka with ten goals, Madrid’s FYR Macedonian Kiril Lazarow scored six times.

Group C:

Cimos Koper (SLO) – HSV Hamburg (GER) 23:24 (10:17)

Hamburg stumbled, but did not fall: In a game of two different halves, the German favourite was close to fail in the final stage, but remained without a spot in the end. Cimos Koper showed a brave fighting spirit after the break and would have deserved a draw thanks to this performance in the second 30 minutes.

The first goal of the match was scored by HSV newcomer Renato Vugrinec whose family live only five minutes away from the arena in Koper. This was the starting signal for the Germans to remain in their favourite role until the break.

After 20 minutes Cimos Koper took their time-out, as Hamburg was already in lead with a seven goal margin (13:6) – especially the Croats Lackovic and Duvnjak were unstoppable in this period. The guest kept this distance until the break and seemed to be on the way to their fourth victory.

But everything changed in the second half: In 15 minutes Cimos Koper scored a 6:2 series to 16:19, and even a time-out did not bring back life to HSV. Cheered by the spectators Koper equalized at 19:19 and was back on track.

But as the Slovenians could not take the lead until the end, HSV was the lucky winner. A penalty shot scored by Hans Lindberg meant the decisive goal for Hamburg, as goalkeeper Dan Beutler saved the last shot of Koper’s Uros Rapotec.

Top scorers were Milorad Krivokapic (Koper) and Blazenko Lackovic (HSV) with each five goals.

Group D:

RK Partizan Beograd (SRB) – Pick Szeged (HUN) 23:29 (13:16)

First points for Pick Szeged in this season of the VELUX EHF Champions League, fourth defeat for the youngster of Partizan Beograd: The match was like a little roller coaster, but in the end the more experienced Hungarians took the victory in Vrsac.

Most of the time Pick were in lead including the clearest gap in the first half at the score of 15:9. But Beograd fought hard after the break. The Serbian champions first came closer, then equalized and even took the lead at 22:21. But thanks to six straight goals to 27:22 Pick decided the game.

Top scorers were Sulc (Szeged) with nine goals and Mandic and Kostadinovic with each seven goals for Beograd.

AG Kobenhavn (DEN) – Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) 31:29 (21:12)

It was a thrilling duel with two completely different halves: Kobenhavn took the lead of their group with now six points after beating the before unbeaten team from Montpellier. But the Danes had to be lucky in the end, despite a temporarily ten goals lead before the break.

The match was imprinted by the currently two best handball players of the world: Mikkel Hansen, who was the decisive figure for Kobenhavn, and Nikola Karabatic who led his team to a great but unsuccessful catch-up chase. But both have not been the top scorers of their teams, as Ekberg and Sigurdsson each scored nine times for AGK and Kavticnik hit the net eleven times for MAHB.

After their triumph at Kiel two weeks ago Montpellier was far away from their top performance in the first half. AGK was flying on the wings of their spectators and easily increased the gap to a sensational 20:10 margin before the break.

But then Montpellier proved their strength, decreased the distance goal by goal and were close to turn the game in the final stage.

Thanks to some saves of AGK keeper Steinar Ege, Montpellier could not equalize at the score of 29:28. In the very last minutes it was Mikkel Hansen who decided this high class duel – latest now Kobenhavn have arrived in the group of the European top teams.

TEXT: Björn Pazen