Magdeburg hope for the "spirit of 2015"Article
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Magdeburg hope for the "spirit of 2015"

For 45 minutes on Saturday night, SC Magdeburg were on an equal level in the first leg of the all-German EHF Cup quarter-final at Göppingen, could even hope to win, when the score was 20:21. But 15 weak minutes before the final buzzer destroyed a good base as the hosts won 31:25 at the end and have opened the gate to the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes wide.

EHF Cup Quarter-final, second leg:

SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Wednesday 27 April, 19:30 hrs local time

Magdeburg still keep the flame of hope burning. It is the memory of last year’s quarter-final in the German Cup that makes them feel a little confident. SCM won that match by an incredible 15-goal difference 32:17 - and now it is a quarter-final on home ground again, but in a different competition.

“The arena will burn on Wednesday night,” SCM back court ace Michael Haaß is sure, while left wing Matthias Musche adds: “We have a strong belief and will fight until the final buzzer.”

Magdeburg have won all their EHF Cup home matches this season, with a distance between four and 17 goals. Against Göppingen they need a margin of seven goals to qualify for the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes (14/15 May). “It will be a tough piece of work,” says Magdeburg coach Bennet Wiegert, who is still unhappy with the way his team played in the final stages of the first leg: “We gave a great position from our hands.”

Magdeburg conceded two goals in the dying minute - but Jens Schöngarth is sure that ”nothing is lost so far. We still have the opportunities to turn it around on home ground.” In German Bundesliga and German Cup Magdeburg twice were the home victors against Göppingen this season, but neither the 28:27 nor the 29:25 (cup) would be enough on Wednesday.

“We have to be more clever and must avoid those easy counter attack goals after turnovers which broke our neck in the first leg,” says Musche.

On the other hand, Göppingen are aware of what might happen in Magdeburg: "We need to be 100% focused for 60 minutes. Six goals sound much, but we should not be dazzled by this result, as Magdeburg are extremely strong on home ground,” FAG captain Manuel Späth warns his teammates.

His coach Magnus Andersson knows that “we were lucky in the final stages to score that much,” but is also “very satisfied with the result, although we know that we are not through this gate to Nantes”.

Two years ago Magdeburg were eliminated by another German team, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, in the EHF Cup quarter-finals. A 31:28 at home was not enough after a 20:27 away defeat - so in 2016 the task is even a little bit easier.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br