Sävehof sensationally beat MadridArticle
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One of the biggest surprise in club history of the Swedish champions, who remain unbeaten at home like Berlin and Velenje did on Wednesday.

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Sävehof sensationally beat Madrid

The 37th match of this VELUX EHF Champions League season ended with the biggest surprise by now: Swedish champions IK Sävehof sensationally beat the favoured three times European club champions Atlético Madrid and even overtook the Spaniards in the ranking.

In contrast, Berlin (against Schaffhausen) and Velenje (against Bjerringbro) took their favourite role and remain unbeaten on home ground.

Group B:
Sävehof IK (SWE) vs. BM Atlético Madrid (ESP) 35:30 (17:16)

It is one of the biggest sensations in the club history of Sävehof IK: After beating RK Zagreb in the past season, now they increased the downswing of last VELUX EHF FINAL4 finalist Atlético Madrid. The Swedish champions overtook the Spaniards by their second home victory – as Atletico lost their third from four matches.

Maybe Madrid were shocked by the long-term injury of goalkeeper JJ Hombrados, maybe they underestimated the host  - but in the end Sävehof players danced on the field, not the favoured Spaniards.

Kristian Bliznac (7) and Eric Schefvert (6) were the top scorers for the Swedish champions, besides veteran goalkeeper Thomas Forsberg, who arrived on the court after the break, played a decisive role with his eight crucial saves, including one penalty.

Madrid did not only have to replace Hombrados, but playmaker Ivano Balić and left back Nikolaj Markussen, too. And in minute 17 it seemed as also newcomer Alvaro Ferrer would have been out with a thigh injury after slipping on the floor. Later Ferrer could return, but in the meantime Sävehof had turned the game from 8:10 to 12:11 and kept this distance until the half-time buzzer (17:16).

When Madrid improved and took the lead at 21:20, Sävehof changed the goalkeeper to Forsberg – a decisive measure. The Swedes took control, first equalised at 25:25 and then outdistanced their opponent to 30:26, forcing Madrid coach Talant Dujshebaev to take his time-out. But Sävehof played down the clock in a experienced manner, not allowing the Spaniards to reduce the gap – and took a sensational victory. Best Atlético scorer was Kiril Lazarov with six goals.

Group C:
Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs. Bjerringbro Silkeborg (DEN) 31:23 (14:8)

After two straight defeats, Gorenje Velenje are back on track again in the fight for the Last 16 spot. As both teams had been equal with two points before, this match had a very high importance, but in the end, only Velenje seemed to be on the field most of the time.

Like on Saturday, when Velenje lost at Kielce despite a strong first half, Fahrudin Melić was the top scorer for the Slovenians – and like in Kielce the left wing scored nine times for his club. The “wasps” from Velenje took control right from the throw-off, as Bjerringbro needed nine minutes to score their first goal.

Thanks to a good start of Jure Dolenec, Velenje extended the gap to 10:5 and later-on 14:7, while the Danes had enormous problems to break through the Velenje defence wall.

And after the break the fate of Bjerringbro was sealed in only eleven minutes, when the host decided the game against harmless Danes by the 20:11. The remaining 19 minutes were just running down the clock for Velenje. Best Bjerringbro scorer was Theis Baagøe with four goals.

Group D:
Füchse Berlin (GER) vs. Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) 31:27 (14:11)

In total 14 goals of the youngster Marko Marić (9) and Christian Dissinger (5) had not been enough to bring at least one point for Kadetten. Füchse had been dominant all over the 60 minutes an remain second with six points on their account, as Schaffhausen rank fourth, having one victory on their tally.

The result could even have been clearer for the Germans, but they failed several times against strong Kadetten goalkeeper Arūnas Vaškevičius. Berlin started stronger, forging ahead to 6:2, before Kadetten had their strongest period, reducing the gap to 10:8. Besides, Füchse were shocked by an arm injury of German international Sven-Sören Christophersen, who had to be replaced by Iker Romero in the middle of the first half.

After the break the attacking efficiency of the host arose, and especially their counter-attacks were as cold as ice – so Berlin were out of reach though intermediately Kadetten reduced to only 19:22 – but latest at the score of 26:20 the deal was sealed for the third Füchse victory in their fourth match. Their top scorers were Markus Richwien and Mark Bult with five goals each.

TEXT: Björn Pazen