Shaky Flensburg do not fall at Lauge's comebackArticle
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GROUP A REVIEW: Thanks to the unexpectedly close 29:26 win at Schaffhausen, Flensburg pass their local rivals Kiel.

Shaky Flensburg do not fall at Lauge’s comeback

SG Flensburg-Handewitt are ready for the triple-header with THW Kiel in Bundesliga and VELUX EHF Champions League in the next two weeks. Prior to this classic (Match of the Week in the next round), the German runners-up were shaken during the close 29:26 at Kadetten Schaffhausen on Thursday. But: The victory, secured by goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, make them pass Kiel by having seven points on their account now.

  • Top scorers are Gabor Czaszar (8) and Luka Maros (6), both for Kadetten

  • Danish Rasmus Lauge has his comeback after an eight-month injury break

  • Flensburg’s second away win of the season, after 25:19 at Bjerringbro

  • Kadetten remain bottom of the group as they still wait for their first point despite their best CL performance this season

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs. SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 26:29 (13:15)

In the duel of the weakest defence of the group phase (Schaffhausen) against the weakest attack (Flensburg), the hosts had the better start.

Flensburg could not present their regular rhythm and speed initially, thus Kadetten (without injured German key player Markus Richwien) forged ahead to 6:3.

But despite some impressive saves by goalkeeper Nikola Marinovic, the happiness of the Swiss champions did not last long.

Without shining in glance, Flensburg turned the match around at 8:7, causing a time-out by Danish born Kadetten coach Lars Walther. But nothing changed, Kadetten’s problems even increased when Austrian international Marinovic had to leave the court after twisting his ankle three minutes before the half-time buzzer.

Comeback after eight-month injury break

On the other hand, Danish Rasmus Lauge had his comeback after an eight-month injury break. In last season’s quarter-final against Kielce, the left back had torn his meniscus and missed the Olympic Games at Rio, where his Danish team mates became gold medallists.

Despite having more and better alternatives on the bench, the current German Bundesliga number 1 could not extend the gap.

At the start of the second half, the team of coach Ljubomir Vranjes pulled away to their first three-goal advantage.

Though Csaszar and Maros scored well and Aurel Bringolf was a strong replacement for Marinovic, the individual level of Flensburg seemed to be too high to jump over for Kadetten.

Away victory not truly endangered

Even when SG missed the chance for a five-goal advantage and Kadetten reduced the gap to only two goals, the away victory was not truly endangered.

Flensburg were shaken 12 minutes before the end when Swiss international Manuel Liniger netted in for 23:24, followed by a SG time-out and the goalkeeper change from Kevin Möller to Mattias Andersson.

'Magic Mattias', who had waited 48 minutes on the bench, came, saw and conquered. Three saves in a row finally brought Flensburg back on track, though Bringolf intermediately had shut up his shop too and Kadetten were still close at 25:26 four minutes before the end.

Finally another Andersson save against Zoran Markovic sealed the deal - the fourth Flensburg victory in the fifth duel with Kadetten.

Post-match statements

Ljubomir Vranjes, Flensburg coach: "The only positive things in this match were that we won it and that Rasmus Lauge managed his comeback. You can tell the players as often as you want that we have to be on 100 percent but maybe they already had Kiel in their heads.”

Kevin Møller, Flensburg goalkeeper: "We fought and fortunately we won the game. Kadetten were not easy to beat."

Lars Walther, Kadetten coach: "I am a little bit disappointed. We wanted to reach our first point and it was not impossible tonight. Unfortunately our goalkeeper Marinovic has injured his leg again."

David Graubner, Kadetten left back: "Some years ago we would have been very proud to lose against Kiel, Veszprém and Flensburg only by three goals - but we want more."

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew