Preview of the Match of the WeekArticle
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THW Kiel face MKB Veszprém in the duel of the powerhouses for the top position in Group B.

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Preview of the Match of the Week

The situation before the ninth edition of the Match of the Week is clear: Hosts from THW Kiel are four points below MKB Veszprém two rounds before the end of the Group Phase. The Hungarians won all their respective eight matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League by now, the defending champions from Germany have six victories and two defeats (in Celje and in Veszprém) on their account.
So THW do not only need to beat Veszprém on Sunday (throw-off: 19:00 hrs. local time), but also need to win their last Group Match at Constanta and additionally have to hope that Madrid wins at Veszprém to finish ahead of the Hungarians.

In contrast, a draw at Kiel is already enough for László Nagy and his team-mates to secure the number one position in Group B – but up to now no match of both teams ended with a draw.

On home ground Kiel won all international matches since 9 October 2011 (23:24 against Montpellier). But: There is only a really rare number of clubs, THW have a negative balance against – MKB Veszprém is one of those.

Kiel only won twice against the Hungarian powerhouse, but lost four matches, including the 30:31 defeat in the first leg of this season’s Group Phase.
In their last crucial encounter in the 2006/2007 season, THW eliminated Veszprém in the quarter-finals by aggregate goals (36:39, 39:32) to become EHF Champions League winner later-on for the first time. And: Kiel never lost at home against Veszprém.

Currently both teams are still aiming high in three competitions – VELUX EHF Champions League, in which both are already qualified for the Last 16, their domestic league and the their domestic cup.

On Wednesday THW Kiel had an easy-going 39:29 victory against Hannover-Burgdorf in the German Bundesliga. As EHF Cup participant Rhein Neckar Löwen only tied at N-Lübecke (24:24), Kiel are below the ranking leader by one point only.

In contrast, MKB Veszprém are number one in the Hungarian league, one point ahead of their old rival and VELUX EHF Champions League team Pick Szeged after their 40:27 win over Orosházi on Tuesday and before the clash of the top teams on 27 February.

One player will be in a special focus on Sunday: Marko Vujin. The Serbian international played for Veszprém until the 2011/12 season before moving to Kiel as successor of Kim Andersson.

In the first match against his old club the left handed shooter scored twice. His counterpart at Veszprém side is “home-comer” László Nagy, the leader of the Veszprém squad.

Additional decisive keys of the Match of the Week will be goalkeeper’s duel of Thierry Omeyer (Kiel) and Mirko Alilović (Veszprém) or the duel of the play-makers Aron Pálmarsson and Gábor Császár.
By looking on the current season statistics, Kiel have the better attack (269:248 goals scored), but Veszprém have the better defence (191:219 goals conceded).

The Hungarians never won the EHF Champions League, their best result was reaching the final in 2002, losing against German side SC Magdeburg. In contrast, Kiel have raised the trophy three times (2007, 2010, 2012) and have been finalists in 2000, 2008 and 2009.

In the current season, both opponents are candidates for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne – and both could make history by reaching the final destination: Veszprém never made it to Cologne, as since the change of the playing system the Hungarians always had been eliminated by Spanish clubs either in the Last 16 or in the quarter-finals.

And Kiel could become the first defending champion to break the curse, as since the implementation of the VELUX EHF FINAL in 2010 no champion qualified for the premier continental club event in the next season.

Further information
The Match of the Week between THW Kiel and MKB Veszprém will be live streamed free of charge on with English live commentary from Tom Ó Brannagáin on Sunday, 17 February at 19:00 hrs local time.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br