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26.02.2012, 21:30◄ last page     

THW win top duel in Kobenhavn, whilst Metalurg miss second place after losing against Hamburg – the summary of the Sunday’s matches.

Barcelona and Kiel Group winner, Plock in the Last 16

After 120 matches all decisions in the Group Stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League have been taken: FC Barcelona Intersport and THW Kiel secured their victories in their respective Groups A and D and Orlen Wisla Plock have qualified as 16th and last team for the Last 16. Aside Cimos Koper took the second place in Group C as their opponent Metalurg lost against Hamburg.

On Tuesday the draw for the Last 16 will take place in Hörsholm, Denmark, at the headquarters of the title sponsor VELUX. The draw event – starting at 11 am – will be streamed live on www. ehfTV.com.

The first ranked teams – each two from Germany and Spain - will face the fourth ranked teams in the Last 16, as the second and third ranked teams face, too. Those clubs, which have finished the Group Phase on first or second position, have the home rights in the second leg. In total 10 clubs from ten nations face in the first part of the knock-out stage – the next step towards the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

Teams which already have played in the same Group in the first stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League, cannot face each other again in the Last 16 – but clubs from the same nation can be opponents in the next stage.

The Last 16 matches will be played 15 – 18 March (first leg) and 22 – 25 March (second leg).

This is the composition of the four pots for the draw on Tuesday, 28 February, 11 am:

Pot 1 (Group winners): FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP), Atletico Madrid (ESP), HSV Hamburg (GER), THW Kiel (GER)

Pot 2 (second ranked teams): RK Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO), MKB Veszprem (HUN), RK Cimos Koper (SLO), AG Kobenhavn (DEN)

Pot 3 (third ranked teams): IK Sävehof (SWE), Vive Targi Kielce (POL), Metalurg Skopje (MKD), Reale Ademar Leon (ESP)

Pot 4 (fourth ranked teams): Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI), Füchse Berlin (GER), Orlen Wisla (Plock (POL), Montpellier MAHB (FRA)

Sunday’s matches:

Group A:

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs. FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) 26:39 (11:19)

After their home defeat against Zagreb the defending champions from Barcelona showed their real face in Sweden and took an absolute clear victory in this one-sided match. Both teams had known their position before, so the game was everything but decisive. At the break the match had been decided – and later-on Sävehof resigned due to the Catalan dominance. In minute 37 the difference were ten goals for the first time (23:13), in the end it were 13 goals. Top scorers were Jesper Noddesbo (Barcelona) with nine goals and Fredrik Larsson with eight goals for the host.

Group C:

St. Petersburg HC (RUS) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 24:32 (12:16)

Even a close defeat would have been enough for Orlen Wisla Plock, but then the Poles clashed their direct opponent for the Last 16 on their home ground.  By winning both halves with exactly the same result, Plock was ahead with eight goals in the end and had destroyed the last hopes of the Russian runners-up. Seven goals of Christian Spanne and a strong defence were the keys to this decisive final success. Plock led 12:7 and decided the game latest at the intermediate score of 19:12. Best scorer for St. Petersburg was Shindin with seven goals.

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. HSV Hamburg (GER) 23:25 (14:12)

HC Metalurg could not defend their second place after Cimos Koper had beaten Constanta yesterday.  After losing against Hamburg the Macedonians rank one point and one place below the Slovenians.

Until the break the host had dominated the match against the Group winner from Germany. But after the 14:12 Hamburg scored four straight goals and turned the match. Until minute 54 and the score of 21:22 Metalurg still could hope for the draw which would have meant the second place, but by scoring another two straight goals to 24:21 Hamburg decided the game. Top scorers were Markovic (seven goals for Skopje) and Duvnjak and Lindberg with each five goals for HSV.

Group D:

AG Kobenhavn (DEN) vs. THW Kiel (GER) 24:24 (11:11)

60 minutes of highest intensity and fighting spirit were 60 minutes of two absolute equal top teams. 5600 spectators in the sold out arena saw a tough clash for the Group victory – and Kiel celebrated the draw, as now they became Group winner for the third straight time.

The match was imprinted by three great goalkeepers: Steinar Ege and Kasper Hvidt on the Kobenhavn side and Thierry Omeyer for Kiel. Aside both defence sides did not give one centimeter of space to their opponents. “This was the toughest match in the whole season,” said THW shooter Filip Jicha after the game.

And it was Jicha who brought the decision ten seconds before the end by scoring the 24:23. The final hammer of six goal Mikkel Hansen equalized an equal game, but did not change the final ranking with Kiel ahead of Kobenhavn.

The biggest THW lead was the 10:8 in minute 25, Kobenhavn led only once (19:17) with more than one goal  in this match on full eye level.

“I am really disappointed, as we could have reached more in a match of two top teams,” AGK coach Magnus Andersson said, and his goalkeeper Steinar Ege added: “We can be proud on ourselves, it was a fantastic match attended by a fantastic audience.”

On the other hand Kiel coach Alfred Gislason was satisfied with winning the group, but: “We caused too many mistakes in attack. 13 technical faults are too much, but in the end we took the point we needed. Our defence was decisive.” Top scorers were Momir Ilic, who did not miss one of his five penalties for Kiel, and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson. The Icelandic, who will transfer to THW after this season, scored eight goals for AGK.

Reale Ademar Leon (ESP) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN) 31:25 (17:10)

As both teams could not change their ranking the match was not that intense like the first leg at Szeged had been. Leon (third ranked in the end) went away very early and decided the game at the break against Szeged, which had been eliminated from the Last 16 before.  The Hungarians reduced the gap to 18:21 and 20:23, before the Spaniards increased speed and concentration and took a well-deserved victory. Top scorers were Stranovsky (six goals for Leon) and Anscin (eight goals for Szeged).

RK Partizan (SRB) vs. Montpellier Agglomeration (FRA) 20:30 (7:16)

The fifth victory of the French champions in the Group Stage was never endangered – and after several defeats like the one at home against Kobenhavn last weekend the Montpellier players had another success. But winning this match against Belgrade (finishing with zero points on their account) did not help the French team, as they had been known as the fourth ranked club in Group D before. After the eight goals difference at the break the second half was something like a training session for the French champions.

TEXT: Björn Pazen

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