Two thrilling draws and an easy-going winArticle
«Go back

GROUP B REVIEW: Veszprém and Flensburg secure lucky away points, while PSG win at Sagosen’s former home.

Two thrilling draws and an easy-going win

Telekom Veszprém HC enter the two-week VELUX EHF Champions League break as the unbeaten leaders of Group B. After four wins in earlier rounds, the three-time Champions League finalists took a lucky draw at Kielce on Sunday.

PSG are one point behind the Hungarian side after their easy-going win in Aalborg, while Flensburg claimed their second straight away draw – this time at Kiel.

• Three of four Group B matches in Round 5 end with draws
• Second straight home draw for Kielce after a clear lead throughout the match
• Gasper Marguc scores buzzer-beating goal for Veszprém
• Lowest-ever score between Kiel and Flensburg in an international game
• Sander Sagosen nets five against former club Aalborg Handbold

MOTW: Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 27:33 (11:18)

From the first minute, Paris could count on cold-as-ice left wing Uwe Gensheimer. Either from the penalty line or via counter attacks, last season’s top scorer was dangerous.

Backed by fans in the sold-out arena and early goals from Buster Juul-Lassen, the Danish champions avoided an early decision, but as the clock ticked towards half-time, PSG forged ahead quite easily.

As the hosts scored only once in the last six minutes of the first half, Paris extended the gap to 18:11, including home-coming Sander Sagosen’s second strike for 17:11.

Though Aalborg showed fighting spirit and their fans stood as one behind them, their means were limited in comparison with the star-studded French side. The gap stood constantly between five and seven goals in the second half; therefore, PSG coach Noka Serdarusic could start his rotation very early.

"We knew it was going to be a tough match and unfortunately we could not keep up. But on the positive side, we had periods where we played on the level of PSG, so we just have to be more consistent throughout the matches," said Aalborg coach Søren Pedersen.

While Paris remain Veszprém’s top hunter for first place on the table after five rounds, Aalborg know they need to win the points against other opponents to make it to the Last 16.

THW Kiel (GER) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 20:20 (9:7)

20:20 was the lowest score ever in an international duel between the German powerhouses, as well as the lowest since Flensburg’s 20:19 win in the German Super Cup in 2000. It was also the first international draw between the two teams since the 28:28 result in the first leg of the Champions League 2006/07 Final.

After 15 minutes of play, both goalkeepers – Niklas Landin for THW and Mattias Andersson for Flensburg – were on a save rate of over 65 per cent. Thus, the intermediate score was incredibly low, at 2:2.

Within four minutes, Kiel added four more goals then forged ahead to 8:3. Flensburg encountered problems scoring during that period and were lucky to rely on Andersson between the posts.

The Champions League 2013/14 winners reduced the gap to two goals at the break and returned to the court with a visibly greater will to win, resulting in an 11:10 lead for the visitors in minute 34.

But then, Marko Vujin started his mission: The Serbian right back became the key to Kiel’s attack, with his fifth strike taking them ahead to 14:11. Though Landin was still on fire and finished with 16 saves, the match was on the edge.   

With four minutes remaining the score stood at 18:17 and Flensburg looked set to take the upper hand, but were too chaotic in several situations. Despite another Vujin strike however, the visitors managed to level the result.

45 seconds before the end, Kentin Mahe netted for 20:20, and Kiel’s final time-out followed – but Andersson secured the draw with a save against his compatriot Niclas Ekberg.

Flensburg team captain, Tobias Karlsson, praised “two brilliant defensive sides and goalkeepers. We could have rewarded ourselves [with a win], but ultimately we have to be satisfied with a draw.”

“I’m disappointed that we could not win two points,” added Kiel coach Alfred Gislason. “We made too many mistakes, so we could not benefit from that outstanding performance of Niklas Landin. To win such a match means that you have to do things better. Today it wasn’t enough, although my team would deserve to win two points.”


PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) 32:32 (16:15)

In the initial stages, Kielce showed their home face – the same they did when they beat Kiel 32:21 in Round 2. The defence was movable and well-prepared for Veszprém, while in attack the hosts moved like a hot knife through butter, taking an early 5:1 lead.

But Veszprém struck back in the rematch of the historic VELUX EHF Champions League 2015/16 Final, as left-handed Kent-Robin Tönnesen and Dragan Gajic took the responsibility.

At 12:12, Veszprém had levelled the result despite five goals from Alex Dujshebaev, taking their first lead at 14:13 – and the match was open again. Thanks to Dujshebaev’s seventh and final strike, Kielce pulled ahead to their only three-goal advantage after the break, at 25:22, but it only took a few minutes for Veszprém to equalise again.

The visitors had the chance to take the lead, as they were at a two-player advantage eight minutes before the end with the score at 27:27 – but Veszprém failed twice against Slawomir Szmal, and Darko Djukic kept Kielce in lead.

The last 26 seconds were full of drama: First, Timuzsin Schuch received a direct red card followed by a blue after a foul on Michal Jurecki, then Karol Bielecki scored the resulting penalty for 32:31.

In their final attack, Veszprém managed to hit the net courtesy of Gasper Marguc, while Kielce’s last shot on the empty visitor’s goal missed its target – and Legionow Arena saw another thrilling draw after the 25:25 against Flensburg in Round 4. 

"I think that Kielce is one of the hardest opponents in the group, especially in their own arena," said Veszprém coach Ljubomir Vranjes. "It was a fight for 60 minutes and we rewarded ourselves with one point. I’m very proud of how the players...not even played, it’s something they stayed together in the game.

"The last 10 minutes looked very tough. Kielce had some penalties against us, they were in the lead, but small things led us to secure one point. I think it’s a big point for us, we will try to be better next time. I think our team is developing very fast."

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen / cg