All four German clubs qualified for the Last 16Article
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Flensburg and Kiel win top matches, as Kielce remain with a clear record and Minsk beat Füchse

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All four German clubs qualified for the Last 16

Before the winter break of the VELUX EHF Champions League already ten teams have progresses to the Last 16: On Sunday, THW Kiel and SG Flensburg followed, which means that the full German quartett already made their way to the knock-out stage.

In two thrilling encounters first THW Kiel beat Atletico Madrid in the ehfTV.comMatch of the Week, before Flensburg won at the Montpellier fortress, confirmed only by the final whistle.

Aside, Kielce kept their 100 percent record after a clear win at Silkeborg, and Minsk beat Füchse Berlin, which had already qualified for the Last 16 before.

Those teams have made it to the knock-out stage:

THW Kiel, HSV Hamburg, Füchse Berlin, SG Flensburg-Handewitt (all Germany), FC Barcelona (Spain), MKB Veszprem (Hungary), Vive Targi Kielce (Poland), RK Metalurg (FYR Macedonia), Gorenje Velenje (Slovenia) and Chekhovskie Medvedi (Russia).

The VELUX EHF Champions League will continue in February 2013 after the Men’s World Championship in Spain with the remaining three rounds.

Group A:

Montpellier MAHB (FRA) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 25:27 (12:14)

After the closest thriller of round 7 the Flensburg players danced on the field, while Montpellier left the court with heads hang low. Until the dying seconds the French could hope for at least a draw, but finally the Germans were the lucky winners and made it to the Last 16.

A double strike of Lasse Svan Hansen and Tobias Karlsson in the final minute paved the way to this crucial win for Flensburg. Though they had to replace several top guns, the Germans took the points and remain only one point below the top duo Hamburg/Medvedi. On the other hand Montpellier were defeated after two straight victories against Partizan, but still have their fate – the qualification for the knock-out stage – in their hands.

The match was on eye level for 60 minutes, even as Montpellier had light advantages thanks to their brilliant shooter Dragan Gajic, who became top scorer by 12 goals. Montpellier were highly focused and even extended the halftime gap to intermediately four goals. But the defending EHF Cup Winners’ Cup champion fought for every centimeter, improved in the defence and took their first lead at 19:18 in the middle of the second half.

But the game was not turned around yet, as it was still on the edge with constantly changing leads. When Montpellier were ahead by 25:24 only three minutes to go, the third straight victory was close, but a final 3:0 series sealed the deal. Montpellier had replaced their goalkeeper by an additional field player for their last attack, but as SG goalkeeper Mathias Anderson saved their last shot, Karlsson had no opponent in front of him, when scoring the 27:25.

Group B:

THW Kiel (GER) – Atletico Madrid (ESP) 31:27 (15:15)

Though they played without five key players, Atletico Madrid were an equal opponent for THW Kiel on Sunday: Jose Javier Hombrados, Julen Aguinagalde, Ivano Balic,  Jonas Kaellman and Kiril Lazarov – those five world star players were replaced by Atletico coach Talant Dushebajev, but still Madrid were close to an away victory at THW Kiel in the Match of the Week of Round 7 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

“They needed a break, I need to keep them fresh – and we cannot win this group”, Dushebajew explained to commentator Tom o’Brannaghain before the match, why Aguinagalde, Kaellman, Lazarov and Balic were not in the team roster, as Hombrados is out since weeks after a severe knee injury.

And after losing this match 27:31 (15:15), the Spaniards are really out for the race of the victory in group B with only six points on their account, being eight points below leader MKB Veszprem.  Kiel (replacing Aron Palmarsson) took their fifth victory and already qualified for the Last 16, but still the gap to the unbeaten Hungarians is four points.

Finally the 13 goals of Filip Jicha (from 16 attempts) and the saves of goalkeeper Andreas Palicka decided the clash of the titans, which had been on the edge nearly for 60 minutes.

Read the full match review on

Group C:

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg – KS Vive Targi Kielce 25:34 (11:18)

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg had hoped to berth their Last 16 already, but KS Vive Targi Kielce was too good for them. The Poles delivered a perfect performance in JYSK Arena in Silkeborg especially goalkeeper Slawomir Szmal, Michal Jurecki and Krzysztof Lijewski.

Already after the first quarter Kielce again had a five goal lead by 11:6 thanks to Szmal and their counter attacks by their wings Ivan Cupic and Manuel Strlek. After 24 minutes Kielce were in lead by 14:6, as Bjerringbro-Silkeborg had not scored for 10 minutes. Then Gudmundur Olafsson came in and did a couple of goals for Bjerringbro-Silkeborg  - but still the Danes were far away from leveling the match.

Right after the break the Poles went away to 22:14, but suddenly some phenomenal saves from BSV goalkeeper Yannick Green made Bjerringbro catch-up. But finally the spell had been broken very early  - latest at the 29:21 with nine minutes left the winners were confirmed.

While Kielce keep their 100 percent record like Veszprem and Barcelona, Bjerringbro remain by six points, but still have best chances to progress to the Last 16.

Kielce coach Bogdan Wenta was happy with their seventh victory: “It was an important match for us because the situation in our group is that simple. We have lots of difficult games ahead and therefore those two points were important for us. Our defense was good and Szmal did well for us in the goal. What happens later in the VELUX EHF Champions League we don’t know, so therefore we focus on the group stage to finish first.”

On the other hand Carsten Albrektsen, coach of Bjerringbro-Silkeborg remained realistic: “We lost to a team much better than ours. Kielce is one of the strongest teams in Europe and they punish you every time you make a mistake. We are disappointed but we have to be fair and congratulate Kielce. They play fantastic and they have a fantastic team. Now we just hope that Kielce can take all that points that they can get in the group. We need two more points to get through but we hope to get through and I think we have a good chance.”

Group D:

Dinamo Minsk (BLR) – Füchse Berlin (GER) 31:24 (15:16)

The highflyer of Dinamo Minsk is going on and on: After their fourth victory in this season the Belarussians only need a draw in Round 8 at Zagreb to qualify for the Last 16. And by nine points they are only below the Germans, who lost their second match after getting defeated in Barcelona. But Füchse had already been among those 16 teams to go on in the knock-out stage after their double victory against Zagreb.

And additionally to the host, FC Barcelona are the winner of this match, as they are highly close to be confirmed as group winner early, as the distance to runners-up Berlin rose to four points with only three matches ahead.

After their tough program in the previous weeks, Berlin seemed to be out of power in Minsk, while the hosts continued where they had ended with their two victories against Pick Szeged. Berlin were able to remain in catching distance at the break thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter. But then Dinamo started their engines, strengthened their defence and accurately finished their attacks.

Ukrainian Sergyi Onufryenko (9 goals) and Montenegrin Vasko Sevaljevic (5 strikes) finally paved the way to this victory, which provides Minsk with the big chance to reach the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League for the first time.

TEXT: Björn Pazen