BLOG: The Expelling in the SchmelingArticle
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ehfTV commentator Tom Ó Brannagáin reveals several truths before the upcoming Match of the Week Füchse Berlin vs Atlético Madrid

BLOG: The Expelling in the Schmeling

It’s the “Battle of the Capitals” and MOTW is getting to see a thriller. Berlin host Atlético Madrid to see who will progress to the last eight. Boxing has had “The Thriller in Manila”, “The Rumble in the Jungle”, well this is “The Expelling in the Schmeling”.

Because if there is one truth, it is that there will be at least one team that will be new in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 this year compared with the previous edition, as both these teams graced the tournament last season.

In short, either “The Foxes” or “The Mattress Makers” will bid a fond farewell to the European top flight for one more season.

Here are some other universal truths about the above mention teams
•    Berlin is mad to be getting rid of Pevnov (the Prussian Russian)
•    Heinevetter is mad (in a great way)
•    Børge Lund still exists
•    Špoljarić can cross the halfway line and score
•    And Iker loves everyone and everyone loves Iker

On the Madrid side
•    Dahl is a “Tale of the Unexpected”
•    Cañellas is the BFG (Big Friendly Giant)
•    Aguinagalde will fall over (on the line) at least 10 times a game looking for a penalty
•    Markussen is fighting a losing battle to put on 10 kilos of muscle (but what an arm he has)
•    Hombrados is the quickest healer in the history of sport

It’s difficult to know what to say about this game. A draw suits both of the teams and neither of them, all at the same time. Basically this is a one game cup final, which leads me to believe that experience could be the key. But which team has it?

We know Talant has it in spades, but is the team that he has assembled got enough to cope. As individuals they do, but have they gelled? It will be the first time the VELUX EHF FINAL4 hasn’t got Atlético Madrid (or variations thereof) in its roster if they don’t make it.

On the other hand this Berlin team doesn’t know when it’s beaten. Just look at the last eight against León last year trailing by 11 after the first leg they pulled off an incredible victory.

They looked to be dead and buried against Kiel in the semi-final and managed to draw level in the closing stages only to be beaten in the end by a goal. And they hold the Indian Sign over Spanish teams, beating a seemingly unbeaten Barcelona in the group phase.

Everything points to a Berlin victory; so many players with so much to prove, home support, Romero loving to play against Iberian opposition and a great captain in Thorsten Laen.

But (and it’s a “but” as big as J-Lo’s) there are signs that the famed Dujshebaev defence is just starting to work. It has taken 11 games of the CL and countless matches in the Asobal league to finally see some semblance of the quintessential Talant defence. Eight fast break goals last week is a testament to that.

I cannot call it. Will Berlin put the “Mattress Makers” to bed? Or will Madrid hunt the foxes down?


Further information
Follow the Match of the Week live on on Sunday 24 March at 18:00 hrs

TEXT: Tom Ó Brannagáin, ehfTV commentator