Leon and Szeged surprise the favouritesArticle
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Defeats for Kobenhavn and Montpellier, whilst Barcelona and Hamburg took their fifth victories.

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Leon and Szeged surprise the favourites

Surprising results in group D and two extended series – this is the conclusion of the third part of Round 5 of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Leon took the points against Kobenhavn, as Montpellier lost in Szeged. Hamburg and Barcelona remain without a spot and Metalurg made another step towards the Last 16.

Group A:

HC Bosna Gas Sarajevo (BIH) vs. FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) 17:43 (9:21)

The defending champions are marching though the VELUX EHF Champions League again. FC Barcelona Intersport left Bosna Sarajevo chanceless on their ground and taught them a real lesson.

Right at the break the disaster for the home team was obvious – as already then it was clear that Barca would take their fifth victory in the fifth match. Aguirrezabalaga (Barcelona) and Meidic (Bosna) were the top scorer with each six goals in this unequal duel. For Sarajevo it was the fifth defeat of the season.

Group C:

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs. HSV Hamburg (GER) 26:30 (13:14)

HSV Hamburg remain without a spot after five matches and secured the lead in this group with the optimum of 10 points after five matches. But like in Round 4 in Koper, it was a huge piece of work for the German champions to win at Plock.

The victory was the present of the team for coach Per Carlen, who celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday.  The decisive factor for this away victory was goalkeeper Dan Beutler, who saved 23 shots, top scorer of the game was Pascal Hens with eight goals for HSV.

But despite the defeat the Plock fans cheered for their team after the final whistle, as their team stood strong against the favourite.  Thanks to their goalkeeper Seier, Wisla was in lead until the final stage of the first absolute even half. Right with the halftime whistle HSV took back the lead to 14:13.

It took only eleven minutes after the break for Hamburg to pre-decide the game  - with a series of five consecutive goals to 22:16, four minutes later it was already 24:17, as Plock started their catch-up chase after the 22:28 – but it was too late, even as the Polish champions could reduce intermediately to 26:29.

Plock remain on fourth position, still one point ahead of St. Petersburg. Top scorer for the host was Kubisztal with five goals.

Statements after the match:

Per Carlen (coach Hamburg): I thank my team for this birthday present, as it was a difficult and tough task in Plock. But in my opinion we deserved to win. Pascal Hens played a brilliant match and we achieved to score many easy goals thanks to our strong defence.

Lars Walther, coach Orlen Wisla Plock: It is not a shame to lose against Hamburg. The German champions have showed that they are individually better than we are. Aside Hamburg have won as they had the better goalkeeper -and they had Pascal Hens in a brilliant shape.

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. HCM Constanta (ROU) 25:18 (12:8)

The FYR Macedonians are on the best way to go to the Last 16, as the Romanian dream to proceed to the knock-out stage is close to the end after their fifth defeat. Metalurg (seven points) rank second below Hamburg.

Again Naumce Mojsovski was the hero for the host with his eight goals, as Constanta disappointed again. The Romanians could keep up until the break, after right from the start of the second half they lacked power – and Metalurg increased the gap minute by minute.

Group D:

Reale Ademar Leon (ESP) vs. AG Kobenhavn (DEN) 28:26 (14:12)

Leon remain unbeatable at home: After the draw against Kiel now they stopped the race of leader AG Kobenhavn in their “fortress”. For the Danes it was a historical day – as the first ever defeat in their VELUX EHF Champions League campaign occurred. And Leon surprisingly took the lead in this group with seven points ahead of Kobenhavn and Montpellier (each six).

picture: Javier Quintana

Nine goals of top scorer Antonio Garcia and a huge number of saves of goalkeeper Vicente Alamo paved the way to this success. Even seven goals of Mikkel Hansen could not bring the Danish champions on the winner’s way.

Before the break the AGK defence had enormous problems to stop the Leon shooters from eight to 11 metres. On the other side the Danes could not start their counter attack play, as the Leon defence stood strong. Powered by an enormous noise in the Arena, Leon took the complete control in the middle of the second half, when thy extended the margin to six goals.

Kobenhavn returned to their usual rhythm right before the end, but could not come closer to less than a two goal difference.

Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) 38:35 (18:17)

Big sensation in the city of sausages: By beating Montpellier, Pick Szeged can hope again for the Last 16. With their second straight victory they caused the second consecutive defeat for the favoured French champions. Wit four points on their account, Szeged are only below Montpellier by two points – but are ahead of THW Kiel.

Thanks to a frenetic support of their spectators and the better shots Szeged decided this game after the break. And the final result is even more sensational, as Montpellier had started perfectly with a 10:5 and 14:9 series. But without Luka Karabatic and Michael Guigou, the French champions were overrun later-on.

Szeged led with a one goal margin at the break, extended the gap to 24:20, as goalkeeper Mickler had shut the shop.  But Montpellier fought hard, reduced again to 30:32 – but then the mission had ended without success, even as Willam Acambray became top scorer with ten goals. Best Pick scorer was Frantisek Sulc with nine hits.

Statements after the match:

Patrice Canayer (coach MAHB Montpellier): Congratulations to Szeged! We tried to do our best, but today our performance was weaker than usually, and Szeged’s performance was excellent. Anyway I am glad that we played a good match.

László Skaliczki (coach Pick Szeged): I know the Montpellier coach well and I respect his job as I knew that a very good and strong team would come to Szeged to play a modern style of handball. We are a real team with a fire since we won against Belgrade and now our supporters helped us a lot to win again, we have to say thank you for them.

Dániel Buday (player Szeged): We could win against a very good team and I am proud of the team. I think that at the end of the first half the audience felt that we could win. We gain new swing after a discussion in the locker room, as in the second half we performed better in attack and also in defence.

Samuel Honrubia (player Montpellier): Our defence was weak as we conceded too many goals. Aside we have many injured players. We could not do anything against the excellent Pick attacks.

TEXT: Björn Pazen