PSG stand strong, while Veszprém lose paceArticle
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GROUP B REVIEW: First home defeat for Kielce this season against Paris, Flensburg conquer the Celje fortress and Aalborg take their second win

PSG stand strong, while Veszprém lose pace

Paris Saint-Germain and SG Flensburg-Handewitt march in step in VELUX EHF Champions League Group B, staying first and second respectively, but Veszprém lost some ground in hunting this duo after a surprising defeat in Aalborg. PSG became the first team this season to win at Kielce, and Flensburg will profit from Veszprém's woes.

  • This was Aalborg's first Champions League win since 24 September
  • After back-to-back defeats by PSG, Veszprém lose more ground
  • Flensburg stay in the hunt but PSG look dominant
  • Kielce lose their first home match this season
  • Uwe Gensheimer is the competition's new top scorer


MATCH OF THE WEEK: PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 29:30 (11:15)

While PSG are on clear course for the group win after their third straight victory against a top opponent, Kielce remain fifth in group B, being eight points below the top side.

As in their wins against Veszprém, Paris were dominant throughout the whole match. Boosted by a strong start from IHF World Player Nikola Karabatic, the visitors were in full control from the beginning.

The 11:7 score in PSG's favour was the sixth strike for Karabatic, who had to sit out the final 13 minutes in the stands after a red card.

After a four-goal deficit at the break, Kielce tried hard to make their fans happy to keep the unbeaten home record. A 22:18 lead in the 43rd minute was the last four-goal advance for the visitors.

Then Paris became a bit shaky, while the hosts had their strongest period, including taking their only lead at 24:23 in minute 50. But the empire struck back immediately, as Paris turned the tide again. Uwe Gensheimer’s final strike for the 29:26 was enough to seal the deal for PSG, despite three more goals for the hosts.

Gensheimer's eight goals in this match means he is now the competition's top scorer, with a total of 58 strikes.

PSG left back Mikkel Hansen said: “We expected a tough game, we knew that Kielce is a difficult place to play, especially when we came without two line players. I think that we fought for each metre of the court, for a good result. Our team reacted well to what was happening on the court and we deserved the victory.”

Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev said: "We didn’t use many 100 per cent situations one-by-one in the first half and it was difficult for us to chase our opponents for the rest of the game. In the end PSG showed their class and experience and that’s why they won."

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) 29:26 (14:13)

Aalborg may have started this match as the underdogs, with only one Champions League win to their name this season, but they fought like lions against Veszprém.

From the 20th minute on, the Danish side were level or ahead of their opponents. Except for Momir Ilic, the visitors had enormous problems in scoring, while on the other side, Anders Holst Jensen was unstoppable.

The match was permanently on the edge. Aalborg could extend the gap to more than two goals only once, when they scored three straight goals following Veszprém’s last equaliser at 17:17.

Despite some strikes from Laszlo Nagy and Mate Lekai, Aalborg were still ahead going into the final minute. After a time-out, Buster Juul-Lassen found the gap, netted in for 28:26 – and made the whole arena go crazy.

Veszprém coach Ljubomir Vranjes said after the match: "It was a difficult match which Aalborg won in the end, and they were the better team today. We did not perform well enough in defence and in the goal, and we did not get anything in the contra phase. They played a lot of seven against six, which we had prepared for, but we did not manage to stop them from having success."

 Aalborg coach Aron Kristjansson said the seven against six tactic was the key, adding: "In defence we did a great job making it difficult for the opponents and then we had a fantastic performance from our keeper as well."

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 27:30 (14:16)

Since 23 September, Flensburg are unbeaten and thanks to their sixth victory, the 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners still are in the race to win Group B, having 14 points on their account.

As expected, the match at Celje was a hard nut to crack, but Flensburg were ahead most of the time. The 15:13 after a double strike of Hampus Wanne was the first two-goal lead after Celje had constantly equalised Flensburg’s advance before.

After the break,17:17 was the last levelled result. Flensburg then managed to cast off their opponents, and when Rasmus Lauge netted in for the 24:20 in minute 45, they were on the winners’ way in the re-match of the 2004 Champions League final.

The top scorers for the victors were the young guns Marius Steinhauser and Simon Jeppson with six goals each.

Celje left win Jan Jurecic said Flensburg deserved their win.

"We missed too many clear opportunities to be able to make a surprise," Jurecic added.

TEXT: Björn Pazen/jh