Landin rescues Löwen in Celje comebackArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: Löwen recover from a poor first half to avoid an upset at home against Celje, thanks to some late heroics

Landin rescues Löwen in Celje comeback

Rhein-Neckar Löwen rallied to come from behind and beat RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko 31:27 in VELUX EHF Champions League Group C on Thursday, taking a big step towards the last 16 in the process.

The German club remain in third place in the group while Celje now face an uphill task to advance.

VELUX EHF Champions League Group C

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 31:27 (13:15)

The Slovenian club appeared set to cause a major upset having dominated for much of the game, but Niklas Landin came up with the saves, and Alexander Petterson the goals, to turn things around late on.

The hosts had started well before Celje pushed the pace and began to build a lead, forcing Lowen coach Nikolaj Jacobsen to burn his first timeout.

The German side struggled to make shots count and this allowed the visitors to get out on the counter attack time and time again.  

Löwen responded with two fast breaks in return, reducing the deficit to two goals at half-time, but it was not until after the break that the momentum shifted.

Jacobsen's men changed to a 5-1 defence, which improved matters on that end of the floor while opportunities continued to be wasted in attack.

Goals from Sime Ivic and Blaz Janc preserved the visitors' slender advantage before Landin came into his own.

The goalkeeper produced a string of momentum-shifting saves while Petterson made the required improvements in attack, as the euphoric Mannheim crowd sensed a swing.

Celje had enough left in the tank to fight back within a single goal, but the home side were in the ascendency and would not be denied a third Group C victory, to the relief of coach Jacobsen.

"For the spectators it was an exciting game but it was not easy," said Jacobsen. 

"In the last 20 minutes our defence got better and better, and Niklas (Landin) held firm."

TEXT: Bence Mártha / jh