BLOG: Not so long ago, in a city not so far away ...Article
«Go back commentator Tom Ó Brannagáin blogs after the Match of the Week Füchse Berlin vs Atlético Madrid.

BLOG: Not so long ago, in a city not so far away ...

As I sat in my hotel room on Saturday night in Berlin, I decided to turn on the tv, something I rarely do on my travels, as I don't speak the lingo. As I channel surfed, I found Stars Wars, The Empire Strikes Back. Luke had just arrived on Cloud City and was about to meet Darth Vader.

If you are of my generation, you will remember the shock we felt when Vader utters those immortal words to Luke. (Spoiler Alert) "I am your father". I still get a shiver when I hear those words. However in my hotel I nearly fell off the bed laughing when Vader said "Ich bin dein Vater Luke". It just didn't have the same ring about it.

Fast forward to the game and the Jedi Knights of Berlin face the Storm Troopers of Madrid. Or so it must have seemed in the first ten minutes or so. Madrid powered away at the start of the game and the tone was set for Berlin with the extravagant spin penalty from Ninčević that went wide.

In fact he was at the centre of all the bad things as his start went from bad to worse with a needless two minutes.

It looked like Berlin had no chance in this game, but with Romero, Špoljarić, Igropulo and Captain fantastic Laen, they somehow managed to pull themselves back into the game.

There was not a sheet of paper between these two teams, as, like last week, one was up, then down, then up, a bit like the grand old duke of York.
Igropoulo was awesome, showing touches of deftness and skill, that I for one didn't know he possessed. Romero played well with Pevnov, but lacked a left hand side with the ineffectual Ninčević and Christophersen. In fact it was only with the miraculously healed Jaszka playing centre that Berlin came to life.

On Madrid's side, Balić was, is and always will be the man. When the chips are down, he has more brains in his little finger than most and his speed is still there. Forget the fact that his hair was standing on end like he had just exited a Tesla machine, he ran himself to a standstill and when he played, Madrid were just a step ahead.

But the game in a fish-eye lens came down to two players who had defied medical science and managed to return. 40 year old Obi-Wan Hombrados and the Padawan learner Jaszka. The medical history is irrelevant. Both coaches felt the need to have them play and play they did. And in the last second it was Jaszka to equalise and send Berlin through, against Hombrados.

At first viewing I thought Hombrados had saved it, but it seems the ball hit the post. Whatever happened Hombrados came out on top and his angles just did enough to cause the young Pole to skew his shot.

Dagur Sigurdson lost to the seasoned campaigner Talant by the slimmest of margins after 120 minutes of handball. The young pretender couldn't quite outfox him. Talant has the "know-how", the experience. He has felt "The Force". Despite an indifferent Champions League so far, He and Madrid are still there.

Who's the Daddy now?

TEXT: Tom Ó Brannagáin, ehfTV commentator