Ambition can creep as well as soarArticle
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BLOG: Which side you come down on will determine ecstasy or agony come Sunday. It's gonna be a hard days night, ehfTV commentator Tom O'Brannagain promises ahead of a German derby in the Last 16.

Ambition can creep as well as soar

Read the first part of the blog here

Part 2

On Monday, we spoke of the “Dance of death”, of great rivalries, of the hows and whys of support. Fans are gearing up for one of the most anticipated “Matches of the Week” ever.

And so we come to the game that will make or break the season of both of theses teams. No longer are they facing each other across the 90km but across the 40x20 of the handball court and no matter what the coaches have hammered into the heads of their players only the strong will survive.

The Flens Arena needs to be rocking to give the home team a lead, that if, not forthcoming may well signify the end of the champions involvement this season. The alacrity of the fall of last seasons winners is alarming, yet all and sundry will have some sympathy for the coach and the situation in which he finds himself.

Kiel come to this game in fine fettle with a full squad to choose from and a goal scoring attack that is functioning at the pinnacle of precision. It is the “ne plus ultra” of teams. And yet it can be beaten as it was on their last visit to Flensburg. It was in this game that Glandorf suffered his terrible injury and his sidekick of last year, Weinhold, now plays for the opposition.

It fills one with a sense of foreboding and yet this Flensburg team fights like no other. They find a way to perform. Nothing shows this more than the “Miracle Man” Maik Machulla making a comeback. But the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.

Alfred can take nothing for granted, nor will he in preparing his team for this game. They are faced now with the realisation that the CL is not just there for the taking. The last two years at the FINAL4 has shown that. Add to that a game that in theory takes away the European dimension and places it directly in the realms of the parochial and we have a match that is unquantifiable.

A famous Irishman (not I), Edmund Burke actually, once said that “ambition can creep as well as soar”, well at the moment Flensburg is crawling. But they still have ambition and are driven, ever onwards, by their coach. It would be at Kiel's peril to underestimate the depth of feeling in Flensburg.

Ljubo vs Alfred

The tactical acumen of Vranjes will be tested to the limit to see if he can overcome the undoubted genius of Gislason. It takes something special to get to the top, but to remain there shows character. Both are driven to succeed and in this alone, we can expect a thunderous conflict.

One of them after Sunday will be able to say: “Invictus Maneo”. I remain unconquered.

In a final reference to the “Dance of Death”, we, the lucky spectators could imagine the players, as gladiators utter the immortal words; “"Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant"

The die is cast, the players await the stage and we salivate in anticipation.

Which side you come down on will determine ecstasy or agony come Sunday.

It's gonna be a hard days night.

TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator