Kiel help Leon and MAHB, Plock open the gateArticle
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Three clear victories at the re-start of the VELUX EHF Champions League

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Kiel help Leon and MAHB, Plock open the gate 

Without throwing any ball on Wednesday night, Ademar Leon and MAHB Montpellier have qualified for the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League as the ninth and tenth team. Due to their clear defeat at group leader THW Kiel, Pick Szeged cannot overtake those clubs and is out of the race for the knock-out stage.

Aside Orlen Wisla Plock is highly close to the next stage after eliminating HCM Constanta. Kadetten Schaffhausen still can hope after their clear result against Bosna Sarajevo.

Group A:

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs. RK Bosna Gas Sarajevo (BIH) 43:18 (23:8)

Kadetten are back on track and caught up to Chambery and Sävehof (all six points), which have their Round 8 matches still ahead. The game was no hurdle for the Swiss champions, as Bosna started with a completely different team compared to the first leg in October. Only goalkeeper Edin Tatar remained from the former squad.

The match was like a “sparring” for the host, who was in lead 12:3 very early and had decided the game latest at the break (23:8).

With a little bit more concentration in the final stage, the FC Barcelona record win of this season against the same opponent (43:17) was in reach, but Kadetten failed closely. Top scorer for the Swiss champions was Andrija Pendic with eight goals.

Group C:

HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)  19:34 (12:15)

Historic day for Orlen Wisla Plock, as they not only took their first away victory in this season, but – more important – opened the gate to the Last 16 widely. With now seven points on their account (and four points ahead of St. Petersburg) the Poles need mathematically still one more point to be securely among the top 16 teams of the VELUX EHF Champions League, if the Russian lose their match against HSV Hamburg on Sunday.

On the other hand, HCM Constanta is out of the race for the knock-out stage after this clear home defeat. Outstanding player of this one-sided match in Romania was Plock’s Michal Kubisztal, who scored twelve goals. Aside goalkeeper Marcin Wichary was another key to success.

After a nervous start of both sides Plock took the control, but could not increase the distance to more than three goals at the break. But then Wichary shut up the shop for 13 minutes completely and Plock scored eight straight goals to a decisive 23:12. The Romanians with top scorer Laurentiu Toma (seven goals) resigned and scored only seven goals after the break, whilst Plock easily took two important points.

Group D:

THW Kiel (GER) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN) 34:24 (18:12)

A “winter’s walk” secured the lead of THW Kiel in Group D and the fifth straight victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League, whilst Pick Szeged was too weak to stand the pressure, especially in attack and missed their last chance to still hope for the Last 16. Decisive factor for the Germans was EHF EURO All-Star team right winger Christian Sprenger, who scored eleven goals.

The host was never endangered and reached a huge distance in the early stage, leading 12:4 and 14:5. By missing some chances THW “allowed” Pick to reduce to six goals at the break.  But then it did not take too long, when the distance were ten goals at 23:13 – latest then the game was decided. The biggest distance were 14 goals at the 31:17.

Statements after the match:

Alfred Gislason, coach THW Kiel: I am satisfied, as we caused a very low number of mistakes. Unfortunately I had to replace some players like Aron Palmarsson or Tobias Reichmann, but all the others did a really good job. It would be great if we could again reach our final destination Cologne, but it is still a long way.

Laszlo Skalicki, coach Pick Szeged: We were to slow in moving back to defence and we could not avoid the THW counter attack goals. Aside our defence was not as good as it is needed in the VELUX EHF Champions League. But THW Kiel is a top team, which I wish all the best.

TEXT: Björn Pazen