Dunkerque give Kiel a big fightArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: German side take a closer than expected victory in the opener of Round 6 of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Dunkerque remain at zero points.

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Dunkerque give Kiel a big fight

The result looks close, the THW did not bring their best performance on the court and Dunkerque impressed by great tactics and fighting spirit – this is the balance of the opener of Round 6 of the VELUX EHF Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Group B:

THW Kiel (GER) vs. Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 28:25 (15:12)

(first leg: 29:21)

Quelle surprise! Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral completely surprised THW Kiel in their Sparkassenarena. After a clearly dominant performance of the three times EHF Champions League winner in the first leg away, the home match was close, as Kiel underestimated the French debutant.

And the Dunkerque players did what their coach Patrick Cazal had told them: Have fun, enjoy the match! But Kiel always looked like they can accelerate again in the crucial stages and were not really endangered despite a close intermediate result before the end.

But despite their relaxed attitude Kiel finally remained unbeaten on home ground and took the lead in this group by ten points – at least until Sunday, when Kielce and Kolding face in the top duel of this group.  And on the other hand – despite a brave performance without no respect for big names – Dunkerque remain on zero points.

The French team had clearly learnt their lesson from the first leg, when they were cut like a knife by THW. Dunkerque reduced the speed, played highly patient and slow to avoid the dangerous fast-breaks of the host. And Kiel could not start their usual tactics.

Even a strong opening stage of left handed Christian Zeitz did not bring the outcome THW had hope for – an easy start with a clear distance. Even when they had forged ahead to 18:13 in minute 33 by a goal of  strong Wael Jallouz, Dunkerque were not shocked, but remained on their way.

And when THW did not score for nearly seven minutes, the spectators were surprised, when the score was only 18:16. Kiel could not stop the shots of Theophile Cause and Espen Lie Hansen (Dunkerque’s best scorers by five goals each) – and suddenly at the score of 25:24 the match could have turned.

But in the final minutes Kiel took the game more serious and took a non-endangered victory in a match, in which they obviously saved some powers for the Bundesliga classic against Flensburg next weekend. Best THW scorer was Dominik Klein by five goals.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br