Kielce's winning run endsArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: KIF Kolding-Kobenhavn dethrone Kielce and Aalborg win Scandinavian derby against Halmstad clearly, while PSG take their first away win and Veszprém maintain their clean record.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Kielce's winning run ends

In Sunday’s matches of Round 5 of the VELUX EHF Champions League four away teams finished victorious, but the biggest coup was done by a host. KIF Kolding Kobenhavn ended the Kielce series in style. Additionally Zaporozhye were winners on home court, while all Veszprem, Kiel, Aalborg and Paris set-up signs for the following reverse fixtures in the next round.

After the Kielce defeat, only Veszprem and defending champions Hamburg maintained their clear record after five matches.

Group A:

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs. St. Petersburg HC (RUS) 29:24 (15:9)

Like in all four matches before, St. Petersburg again were the playing ball of their opponent. The Russian side lacked the skills and the alternatives to endanger their Ukrainian neighbours. On the other hand, Zaporozhye ended their downswing after two straight defeats in style and are even the clear favourites for the rematch next weekend in Russia.

Zaporozhye built-up a solid rock defence including a strong goalkeeper Richard Stochl to break the Russian resistance very early.

With a higher efficiency in attack the result could have even been clearer than it finally was. But the Motor back courts shooters were fully dominant in the 60 minutes, leaving St. Petersburg behind very early intermediately. But in contrast to previous matches, the team of Dmitry Torgovanov did not surrender completely although knowing they were deprived of any chances. They showed moral and did not allow Zaporozhye to march ahead to a double figured result – but the victory was never endangered.

Motor's coach Bebeshko was angry, taking his time-out six minutes before the end at the score of 26:21 to wake his players up again. Best scorers were two Sergiys: Onufryenko with seven goals for Motor and Kuzmin with five strikes for St. Petersburg.

Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs. MKB-MVM Veszprém (HUN) 26:31 (14:15)

For 40 minutes the away match in the fortress Zlatorog Arena was a steep mountain to climb for the top ranked team of Group A, then Veszprem took their fifth victory highly dominant and in style, while Celje lacked powers to stand the powerful Hungarian match play. Cheered by hundreds of red dressed spectators, Veszprem made a huge step towards the group victory, still being ahead of Rhein Neckar Löwen by three points.

The first half was fully equal, the only time Hungarian champions managed to lead by a two-goal advance was at 14:12, but Celje immediately equalized again.

And the Slovenian runners-up, who remain on four points like Zagreb, stood strong for another ten minutes in the initial stage of the second half. When Gasper Marguc (in total seven goals) scored for the 17:19, everything seemed to be open again, but then Veszprem strengthened their defence, goalkeeper Nandor Fazekas added several brilliant saves and attack worked like a Swiss clockwork.

In only seven minutes the Hungarian side marched ahead to 25:18, boosted by the goals of their Spaniards Cristian Ugalde (best Veszprem scorer by seven strikes) and Chema Rodriguez – and virtually decided the match.

In the match against his new national team coach Vladan Matic (additionally coach of Celje), Serbian team captain Momir Ilic scored six times – but the host had the best scorer in their squad: Ivan Sliskovic (eight goals).

Group B:

KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 29:24

After 14 consecutive victories in Group Phase including the 2012/13 season, the impressive series of Vive Targi Kielce came to an end in Bröndby on Sunday. KIF Kolding Kobenhavn dethroned the group leaders despite severe injury problems – and now three teams are on top of this group with eight points each including THW Kiel.

The stronger defence and the clearly lower number of turnovers were the keys for this surprising result, after Kielce had beaten THW Kiel clearly on home ground before the four weeks break. Another major point was the better defence and the high efficiency in counter-attack goals, proved by top scorer Albert Rocas (eight goals). Bo Spellerberg added seven goals to the KIF win, while Ivan Cupic was best Kielce scorer by six goals.

KIF had full control of the match from the first to the last minute, making the fans in Bröndby go wild against the 2013 VELUX EHF FINAL4 participant. The Polish team had enormous problems in attack, while goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt led the KIF defence perfectly. Thanks to those “steals” Kolding Kobenhavn scored a huge number of easy goals. In position attack they had some problems with the powerful Polish defence, but when needed, Spellerberg was unstoppable.

In the middle of the second half, the distance had grown to six goals from 22:16 on, and even a time-out of coach Bogdan Wenta did not change the run-down. Latest four minutes before the end at the score of 28:22 the winner was confirmed.

Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) vs. THW Kiel (GER) 21:29 (13:19)

Without having to give out all they have THW Kiel took their fourth victory in the Group Phase to be equal with Kolding and Kielce now. At the French coast the German outfit had no problems to gain both points, while the host still have nothing on their account.

Dunkerque were on eye level only in the first ten minutes, then Kiel marched ahead after the 5:4 to a four goals advance at the break. Latest at the start of the second half the winner was confirmed, when the “Zebras” took their first double figured lead at 24:14 in minute 42 – even though they still have to replace their Danish back court ace Rasmus Lauge with a knee injury and his Danish compatriot Rene Toft Hansen had received an early direct red card.

When the deal was sealed, Kiel allowed Dunkerque to do some result cosmetics and to reduce that gap to eight goals at last. Best player of the host was goalkeeper Vincent Gerard, who saved eleven shots.

Group C:

Wacker Thun (SUI) vs. PSG Handball (FRA) 28:34 (10:16)

PSG are back in the race for a top position in this group after the expected victory at Bern, their first ever away win in the Group Phase after a draw and a defeat at Skopje. Thanks to those two points the French champions passed Dinamo Minsk in the ranking and are only one point below the Macedonian duo of Metalurg and Vardar. The leaders from FC Barcelona are still far away – topping the ranking by nine points.

The Champions League debutants of Wacker Thun still wait for their first point after their fifth straight defeat. Paris newcomer Fahrudin Melic was the top scorer of the match by seven goals (including four penalties), while Reto Friedli was best Wacker scorer by six goals.

The French champions and clear favourites fulfilled their duty in the last Wacker home match in 2013.

Despite the defeat Wacker coach Martin Rubin was pleased with his teams performance: “Even though we lost I am not unhappy, we played a strong second half. I had a positive impression of my team, today was a good result for us.” Goalkeeper Andreas Merz, best player of his team with 14 saves, was proud: “We put up a great fight against a world class team. I think this result and especially the second half will boost our confidence.”

Wacker Thun, the clear underdogs, had a bright start. After six minutes they took an unexpected two goal lead (4:2). But the joy did not last long, PSG picked up their game and showed their huge quality in some great offensive plays. Consequently the French champions took a 16:10 lead into the break.

In the second half the Swiss champions put up a great fight, and could keep up with one of the best teams in the world. Though PSG clearly have the higher individual class with players like Daniel Narcisse (four goals), Marko Kopljar (five goals) or Melic, it was Wacker who scored the most brilliant goal of the match, when Lukas Von Deschwanden finished a great attack with an in-flight shot 20 minutes before the end. Overall the second half was great to watch for the 2,100 spectators, the speed of the game was high and produced a lot (great) goals. The hosts were able to structure it equally at 18:18.

Group D:

After Hamburg had beaten Flensburg and La Rioja had taken their first ever Champions League victory against Velenje, Aalborg confirmed their clear claim for the third position.

HK DROTT Halmstad (SWE) vs. Aalborg Handball (DEN) 26:35 (8:15)

With only one point below SG Flensburg-Handewitt and having the home right against the German team in two weeks, Aalborg Handball can hope to rank second before the EHF EURO break. The Danish champions proved their ambitions in a one-sided Scandinavian duel at Halmstad. The Swedes still wait for their first victory and rank at the bottom with only one point on their account.

The match additionally was something like a private duel for the top scorer crown – and this fight ended in a draw as Aalborg’s Norwegian Havard Tvedten and Swedish Magnus Persson scored eleven goals each, which lifts Persson to an overall of 34 goals now.

After the 5:4 a time-out of coach Nicolaj Jakobson woke up the Aalborg players, who then easily forged ahead to a clear seven goal distance at the break.

Especially the needle-pin counter-attacks were the most efficient weapon of Aalborg, which also were fully dominant after the break though they slowed their speed down a little. On home court the Danish side are clear favourites against the Swedish youngsters next weekend.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br