Kiel become last German club standingArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: THW Kiel are the only German club in the quarter-finals after they overcame the defending champions in the last 16.

Kiel become last German club standing

For the first time since the 2001/02 season, only one German club has reached the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-finals.

THW Kiel followed up their 30:21 first-leg win against SG Flensburg-Handewitt with a 33:28 success on Sunday to eliminate the reigning champions.

The three-time winners were quite not as convincing as during their first-leg demolition of the 2014 champions, but advanced to their 16th Champions League quarter-final nonetheless, roared on by 10,250 fans in the Sparkassen-Arena.

It is the second season in succession that the holders have not reached the last eight, following HSV Hamburg's early exit last season.

VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16

THW Kiel (GER) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 33:28 (16:10)

First leg 30:21; Aggregate 63:49

SG Flensburg-Handewitt went into the second leg with an injury crisis to overcome, as well as a nine-goal deficit.

The reigning champions were without six key players, including defensive chief Tobias Karlsson, right back Holger Glandorf and left back Lars Kaufmann - meaning assistant coach Maik Machulla had to be called upon to keep the club's European dream alive.

Despite such limited resources, SG made the brighter start behind some high-intensity defence. 

The match was tied at eight when Flensburg failed to score for eight minutes, allowing Kiel to pull away with a series of ruthless counter attacks spearheaded by Dominik Klein, who had five first-half goals.

The advantage reached 16:10 by half-time, leaving the reigning champions needing a 16-goal swing to advance, and if that did not seem unlikely enough, they found Kiel goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand in sparkling form, in the absence of Andreas Palicka.

Flensburg did not give up their crown without a fight, however, and clawed it back to 23:27 in the closing minutes. But Kiel found another gear and hammered home their advantage to inflict a measure of revenge for their final four defeat last June.

"Our defence and goalkeeping was the key – and we never stopped, even though we knew we were through,” Kiel left back Domagoj Duvnjak told Sky.

Szeged, PSG, Vardar or Zagreb will face Kiel in the quarter-finals, just two games away from the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

Kiel's Klein added: "It was not easy for us to go on the court having a nine-goal advantage in our heads, but finally we made our fans happy. Now we want to go to Cologne."

For Flensburg, however, the journey is over.

Flensburg wing Anders Eggert said: "We wanted to show a good match – and due to our injury problems we showed a really good performance, but we knew that we were out after the first leg."

TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh