Preview for the second leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-finalsArticle
«Go back

Small and large margins count for little before the rematch

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

Preview for the second leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-finals

60 minutes separate the eight participants from the 'handball theatre of dreams', the LANXESS arena in Cologne, where the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will take place on 1 and 2 June.

The margins after the first leg are between one and six goals and all coaches and players involved are of the opinion that nothing has been decided yet.

MKB Veszprém KC (HUN) vs. THW Kiel (GER)
Saturday, 16:00 hrs. local time, first leg 31:32

It was one of the biggest turnarounds this season in the VELUX EHF Champions and it became a match to remember: Kiel were down on the floor in the first leg, trailing 22:28, but then managed to beat Veszprém with a Daniel Narcisse goal in the final seconds.

The defending champions now face the Hungarians in their intimate and intimidating arena.

Kiel have played here once already this season, when they lost 30:31 in the Group Phase, a result which, if repeated, would mean elimination due to fewer away goals scored.

“We have to stand strong in one of the most difficult arenas of Europe against one of the best home teams in Europe.

“But the first leg proved that we never give up, no matter what the result is. But if we do not show a fantastic performance on Saturday, we will not see the LANXESS Arena in June,” said THW coach Alfred Gislason.

If Kiel do march through to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 they would have broken the defending champions’ curse, as none of the defending champions have made it again to Cologne the following season.

Veszprém coach Carlos Ortega was quite satisfied with the way his team played in Kiel.

“I am proud, even though we gave a six goals advance from our hands. We have our fate in our own hands, supported by our brilliant fans, to make history.

“But Kiel can win any away match in the whole world,” said Ortega.
“We always believe in ourselves,” added top scorer in the first leg (11 goals) Laszlo Nagy.

THW team captain Marcus Ahlm is looking forward to the match and the atmosphere.

“It is going to be one of the most intense matches you can play in one of the loudest arenas on earth.

“The decision, whether Kiel or Veszprém make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will be taken in the last ten of 120 minutes,” said Ahlm.
If THW do win, it will be their first ever victory in an official match at Veszprém.

FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) vs. BM Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs. local time, first leg: 20:25

It was the biggest surprise of the first leg, when Atlético overran the favoured team from Barcelona, causing the opponent’s first ever defeat on a Spanish court for over a year.

However, the decisive question is whether five goals are enough to make it to Cologne?

If so, it would mean the club continuing to qualify for every VELUX EHF FINAL4 since its inception, four years ago.

“Barcelona have all the powers to turn the tie, so we are very aware of the second leg.

“I was not that happy after winning the first leg, but will be happy, if we manage to proceed,” Atlético coach Talant Dujshebaev said.

“We played the most complete game of the season in the first leg, and I really hope that we can continue like this.

“The first leg result is good for us, but not significant for the final outcome.” added Joan Cañellas.

While Madrid played with full passion and close to perfection, Barcelona were below par.

“I hope that our fans will push us to the limit, like the Madrid fans did with their team in the first match,” said Barca wing player Victor Tomas.

“We still have the chance to flip the result,” said a hopeful coach Xavi Pascual.

Last season, Barcelona were eliminated in the quarter-final after a six goal loss (23:29) at AG Kobenhavn, winning the second leg 36:33 was not enough, while Atlético turned their tie against Koper around at home after they lost the first duel in Slovenia.

KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs. HC Metalurg (MKD)
Sunday, 17:00 hrs. local time, first leg: 27:25

Kielce have continued their victorious series against Metalurg with their third win out of three this season.

Despite their good form, none of the players or staff want to talk about Cologne before the second leg has been played, knowing that a two goal advantage can be a dangerous one.

“Surely it is better to lead than to be down, but everything will be decided with the final whistle on Sunday, not earlier,” goalkeeper Slawomir Szmal was quoted on the Kielce website.

“Metalurg have the same strength in away matches as they do at home, they have shown that in the Group Phase, when they only lost by one goal in Kielce.

“Two goals does not mean very much. On Sunday we should not have the victory at Skopje in our heads,” added Szmal.

For Metalurg’s assistant coach Vanco Dimovski is positive after the close defeat.

“It was a favourable outcome and we will fight to change the result in Kielce,” said Dimovski.

Regardless of which of the two teams reach Cologne, there will be a debutant as neither Kielce nor Metalurg have been part of the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday, 18:30 hrs. local time, first leg 32:26

“It is still only half-time, and we have hard work ahead despite the lead,” said HSV coach Martin Schwalb after the clear away victory at Flensburg.

His team turned the match around with a 10 goals to one run in the middle of the second half and knows that their second participation at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 is not certain.

“Flensburg have the ability to turn the match around like we did, the result of the first leg is no hint for the final result,” Schwalb said.

On the other hand, Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes hopes that one week can change everything.

“We need this break to get our heads free and our bodies relaxed. Maybe then we will have a chance at Hamburg,” said Vranjes

“We do not give up until the final whistle of the re-match. We will do everything to turn it around,” promised captain Tobias Karlsson.

Since the introduction of the new playing system, only one team has recovered from a larger deficit than six goals in the VELUX EHF Champions league quarter-finals.

Füchse Berlin managed that feat. They came back from 11 goals down against Ademar Leon last season.

Looking further back, Flensburg were able to turned a ten goal deficit around against Celje in the Last 16 of the 2006/07 season.

This game will be the Match of the Week on Sunday, 28 April at 18:39 CET, with live commentary from Tom O' Brannagáin.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor