Montpellier’s big win makes it three French sides in CologneArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: French side dominate from start to finish against Flensburg to book a spot in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the first time
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Montpellier’s big win makes it three French sides in Cologne

With a large win against Flensburg, Montpellier qualified for their very first VELUX EHF FINAL4 and will be one of three French teams in the pot for the draw on Wednesday 2 May at the Radisson BLU in Cologne.

The 2003 champions’ qualification for the event is made all the more impressive by the fact that their journey took them through Groups C/D, making them the first club to do so in the competition’s current format.

  • The VELUX EHF FINAL4 will welcome three French teams for the first time
  • The French side is the first ever to go to Cologne after starting their road to Cologne in the C/D groups
  • Melvyn Richardson was Montpellier's best scorer with nine goals, while Lasse Svan netted five for Flensburg

Montpellier Handball (FRA) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 29:17 (14:9)
Montpellier win 57:45 on aggregate

In a packed and festive arena, Montpellier took the lead of the game right from the start. Jonas Truchanovicius and Diego Simonet scored the five first goals for their team, while Flensburg struggled in attack. With an inspired Vincent Gérard between the posts, the German team trailed 5:1 after just nine minutes.

Montpellier were firing on all cylinders throughout the half, only Lasse Svan was enjoying any success for Flensburg, who were battling to stay in touch.

Flensburg improved defensively and finally began to flow in attack, cutting the gap to just three goals. However, a rushed Rasmus Lauge shot was saved by Gérard and Truchanovicius followed it with a long-range open goal to send Montpellier into the dressing rooms 14:9 up at half-time.

Sadly for Flensburg, things went from bad to worse after the break. Offensively, they were losing too many balls and when they had opportunities to shoot, Vincent Gérard was doing them no favours.

Melvyn Richardson and Jonas Truchanovicius could not be stopped in the second half and as Montpellier held an 18:11 lead after 38 minutes, there was only going to be one winner.

A change between the posts for a crestfallen Flensburg, Møller for Andersson, did not change much, as Melvyn Richardson scored goal after goal and Montpellier coach Patrice Canayer had a chance to rotate his bench as the hosts cruised to a 29:17 win.

“There is a huge sense of pride, but also that this qualification is a reward for all the work this team has done over the years.

“I said to the players that it was a good thing to be at this level, but that we had to make bigger things happen. And they did. Cologne will be something new for my team, we will definitely be the underdogs. But being underdogs does not mean we do not have ambitions,” said Canayer after the victory.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor