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23.02.2009, 11:00◄ last page     


The first team to qualify is THW Kiel. Read the summary of the weekend.
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Men's Summary: Main Round Day 2

The weekend in the Men’s EHF Champions League saw the first team qualify for the quarterfinals and three other teams remain spotless.

By beating Ciudad Real very clearly, THW Kiel are through to the quarterfinals. In addition, Chambery and Hamburg have the maximum six points. Zagreb won for the first time ever in Celje – under the leadership of Cervar’s successors. Barcelona took their last chance to reach the next stage.

Group 1

Chechovski Medvedi - HSV Hamburg 30:32 (14:14)

Portland San Antonio- FC Kopenhagen 38:27 (24:16)

After the clear defeat in Hamburg, Portland came back to life with 4:4 points now (the same number as Chekhov) and still hope to qualify for the quarterfinals. FCK didn’t have a glimpse of a chance, as they were even down to eight goals at halftime.

“I’m very disappointed. It is not shameful to lose in Pamplona, but I’m ashamed because of the way we lost,” FCK coach Magnus Andersson said.

Portland coach Chechu Villaldea was highly satisfied:

“We were better than FCK in every aspect and we improved respect to the Hamburg match. I don’t want to single out any player because all of them did well.”

The best scorers of the game – that saw the comeback of Kjelling with six goals – were Malmagro and Jakobsen with seven goals. In addition, goalkeeper Tomas Svensson made incredible saves.

In the 39th minute Portland increased the gap to ten goals (29:19), in the end it was nine goals. The best scorer of the Danish team – sill without a point – was Christenssen with eight goals.

Group 2

Chambery Savoie HB - Rhein-Neckar Löwen 25:23 (11:12)

Celje Pivovarna Lasko - HC Osiguranje Zagreb 22:25 (11:16)

Lazarov in World Championship formZagreb are back on track for the quarterfinals after changing the coach. The Croatians were leading all the way and won in Celje. It means that they have four points now just as Rhein Neckar Löwen.

The new coaching duo, Maglajlija and Basic, brought the fighting spirit back in the team. The best scorer of Zagreb was Kiril Lazarov with seven goals; Koksharov and Gajic scored five times each for Celje. The Slovenians remain without a point in Group 2.

For Zagreb it was as the first ever victory in Celje. The biggest difference was six goals at a time, but the Slovenians came close to a goal (22:23). Then Zagreb scored twice and decided the match.

“It was a well deserved Zagreb victory,” Celje coach Tone Tiselj said. “I have to give compliments to our spectators, who supported us during the whole match.”

Senjanin Maglajlija, new Zagreb coach, was satisfied: “Both teams are in a difficult situation now and both were under pressure. Now we have a week to prepare for the decisive match in Chambery and we still hope to reach the quarterfinals.

Group 3

SG Flensburg-Handewitt - Ademar León 31:26 (13:13)

Flensburg did well against Ademar”Our fighting spirit was world class,” Flensburg coach Per Carlen said after a very important victory against Leon. “We’re still alive.”

Even though the number one goalkeeper, Dan Beutler, couldn’t play, the Germans dominated the match after the break. Reserve goalkeeper, Jendrik Meyer, was one of the top performers. Now the German side are second on the table with 4:4 points.

In the first half Leon were in a 4-goal lead, but Flensburg fought back and equalised before the break with three consecutive goals.

In the second half Lars Christianssen, Michael Knudsen and Lasse Boesen scored extraordinary goals and Leon ran out of energy minute by minute. After 24:20 Flensburg decided the match. The top scorers were Christianssen (Flensburg) and Bicanic (Leon) with nine goals each.

Montpellier HB - MKB Veszprém 24:30 (11:14)

Veszprém remain on top of Group 3 and have the best chances to reach the quarterfinals from the group. After the victory against Leon, they also won in Montpellier and lead the table with six points. By taking both points from Leon next weekend, the Hungarians could already qualify for the knock out stage.

In Montpellier – that never showed a fighting spirit like in Flensburg last week – Veszprém were leading most of the time and took a deserved victory.

After equal 10 minutes Veszprém took the lead and extended it to six goals in the end. Leon remain with three points and need at least three more points to go on in the Champions League.

Group 4

THW Kiel Ciudad Real 33:26 (14:12)

Karabatic was in top form again10,250 spectators were in ecstasy as the final whistle was blown in Kiel. THW have beaten Ciudad Real surprisingly clearly. It also means that they are the first team in the competition to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Kiel are still spotless with six points, as Ciudad lost their first match of the CL season. The match was a very high level one. Both teams had to missed some injured players, such as Dinart and Urios (Ciudad) or Lövgren and Lund (Kiel).

THW got rid of the “Ciudad Real curse”, as the Spanish champion was the only team to beat Kiel in the last nine months – in the 2008 CL Final and the semi-final of the Champions Trophy.

In both teams the goalkeepers showed an outstanding match. However, as his team, Thierry Omeyer (Kiel) was better than Árpád Sterbik. With Omeyer’s saves and the goals of Nikola Karabatic, Kiel took the lead at 13:9, but Ciudad came closer to 19:20 after the halftime break. The Spanish side was unable to equalise, though.

As Filip Jicha took the responsibility, he led his team to another four goals difference. And with five consecutive goals after 26:23 in the final stage of the game, Kiel decided the match.

As Ciudad couldn’t beat Omeyer, the victory of THW was very clear. Siarhei Rutenka (Ciudad) received a red card with seven minutes before the end for assault against Karabatic.

The best scorers of Kiel were Kavticnik, Andersson and Jicha with seven goals each; Stefansson scored five goals for the title holders.

Ciudad – despite the clear defeat – need only one point from the last two matches to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Coach Talant Dujshebaev was very disappointed: “You can lose in Kiel with one or two goals, but not with seven. Kiel played much more aggressively, and Thierry Omeyer showed again that he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.”

THW manager Uwe Schwenker was highly impressed by the performance of his team: “This was sensational, now we’re through to the quarterfinals and we want to be number one in the group. But it’ll be a very tough fight in Spain.”

Coach Alfred Gislasson shares this opinion: “We played very well, but we haven’t won the group yet. We have to fight hard in Ciudad Real.”

FC Barcelona - GOG Svendborg 36:27 (17:14)

Hansen played against his former clubFC Barcelona took the last chance to reach the quarterfinals by beating GOG very clearly. Barca (2 points) now need two more victories, including a victory with more than four goals in Ciudad Real and have to hope that Kiel win in Ciudad.

Barcelona dominated the match right from the start and were in the lead at 4:0. The Spanish team, led by Victor Tomas (6 goals) in the first 30 minutes, kept this distance until the halftime break. But the team of the new coach Xavier Pascual couldn’t stop the best GOG scorer Fredrik Petersen (12 goals).

In the second half, Barcelona won the game thanks a good defence and the offensive performance of Albert Rocas, who scored all together eight goals.

Xavier Pascual was satisfied with Barca’s performance:

“We played againsta serious team that played very fast. It is difficult go back to defence against a team such as Gudme because they are very quick. I’m so happy with our skill, our effectiveness. We were good in attack and we played well in defense.”

GOG coach Ulf Schefvert was only a bit disappointed: “During the season we had a lot of problems, but now we are strong. The last game against Kiel we played well for 20 minutes and today we played well 35 minutes. Our objective is to play well 60 minutes.”

The Danes are still going for their first point in the main round.


TEXT: Björn Pazen

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