Göppingen open the gate to NantesArticle
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German side take a draw at Maribor in the first EHF Cup quarter-final

Göppingen open the gate to Nantes

Frisch Auf Göppingen still can hope for their triple victory in the Men’s EHF Cup. After winning the trophy in the old format in 2011 and 2012, now they have build the base for reaching the first ever EHF Cup Finals, played in Nantes 18 and 19 May.

In their third match against a Slovenian team in this season the German side remained unbeaten. After winning twice against Cimos Koper in the Group Phase, they tied in the first leg of the quarter-finals by 26:26 (15:13) at Branik Maribor.

“But still nothing is decided,” said coach Velimir Petković. “We still have to win on home ground next Sunday," he said. By now Göppingen have won all their home matches on international ground in this season.

Maribor started without pressure, handing over the favourite role to the opponent before. And boosted by a huge number of spectators in green and white and backed by the saves of their Slovenian goalkeeper Primož Prošt, Göppingen started more efficient, forging ahead to 8:5 - the already fourth goal of Serbian international Momir Rnić, who had hit the net in the first 30 minutes six times and finished as top scorer by ten goals. Göppingen easily marched away to 12:7 in minute 21, before Maribor woke up and reduced the gap to only two goals at the break (13:15).

And suddenly the match had turned around completely: Finishing a 10:4 series, Branik were in lead for the first time at 18:17, but could not outdistance their opponent. And from the 22:22 on, the match was on full eye level – which finally meant a well-deserved draw for the hosts.

Photo: Boštjan Selinšek

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br