Esch ready to climb Belarusian mountainArticle
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Luxembourgish team have not yet given up on catching up with five goal deficit and taking the Challenge Cup trophy.
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Esch ready to climb Belarusian mountain

It seems as if it is going to be like climbing a mountain – a tall and steep one – when Handball Esch enter the Minsk Arena Saturday evening. The first sport team from Luxembourg ever to qualify for a final in a European club competition are chasing a five goal deficit after their 26:31 defeat in the first leg at home last Saturday.

Men´s Challenge Cup final, second leg, SKA Minsk (BLR) vs. Handball Esch (LUX) Saturday May 25 at 18.00 (first leg 31:26)

This means that the team of Werner Klöckner will have to win the away game by six goals, five if they can score more than 31 goals in the Belarusian capital. However, the team who have written handball history in Luxembourg already have not given up yet. The coach has found reason for hope.

“In the first match Minsk turned out to be just as strong an opponent as expected, and so far they have lived up to their role as favourites. However, the only reason why we were three goals down at half time was the fact that we were not good enough at benefitting from the scoring opportunities we actually created. I found it great, though, that we managed to fight our way back into the game and minimize the defeat towards the end, after we had been nine goals behind at one point in the second half. The five goal deficit still gives us reason to hope,” head coach Werner Klöckner told

There is no doubt, however, that it will be a home team, who are determined to finish the job and take the trophy who enter a full arena in the early evening Saturday. The motivation is in top among the SKA players.

“Of course, the Challenge Cup is not the Champions League or the EHF Cup where the European top clubs compete, but it is still a serious competition, and it is definitely a big honour to win it,” as SKA line player and Belarusian international Aliaksandr Tsitou told

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br