Constanta out, Kiel can still hopeArticle
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Defending champions add some spice for the Veszprém vs. Atlético Madrid clash

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Constanta out, Kiel can still hope

The opener of Round 10 of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase brought an expected winner: Defending champions THW Kiel ended the hopes of HCM Constanta to reach the knock-out stage on Wednesday evening.

Group D:

HCM Constanta (ROU)  vs. THW Kiel (GER) 25:28 (11:16)

The result might look close, but THW secured the win early and could slow down in the final minutes of the match, only three days after the German powerhouse had clashed the group leader, MKB Veszprém 32:21 on the home ground.

For HCM Constanta the journey through Europe has come to an end with this defeat, as now they have missed the Last 16 by four points on their account. The final decision about the fourth spot for the knock-out stage in this group will be taken in the duel of IK Sävehof (SWE) vs. RK Celje (SLO) on Thursday.

And the Slovenian team have the clearly better cards, as even a defeat by six goals would mean the qualification for the Last 16 after winning the first leg against the Swedes 31:25 and having the clearly better overall goal difference (-18 compared to -49).

THW Kiel now have to wait until Saturday, when the final whistle of the match MKB Veszprém (HUN) vs. Atlético Madrid (ESP) is blown, to know their final ranking. If Veszprém at least take one point, they finish on top of the group ahead of Kiel, if Madrid win, Kiel are number one, as they have won the direct encounter against MKB. Madrid will – regardless the result – finish third in this group.

In contrast to their 14:35 defeat in the first leg at Kiel, Constanta had improved, but never could endanger the visitors. After the 16:11 lead at the break, the distance remained the same until the 23:18. When Constanta reduced to only 22:24, THW coach Alfred Gislason changed the goalkeeper from Andreas Palicka to Thierry Omeyer – and his team easily secured the victory.

Laurentiu Toma led the hosts with six goals, Filip Jícha was THW top scorer with seven goals, Marcus Ahlm had to be replaced due to an eye injury.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br