|31.03.2011, 21:22||◄ last page|
Chekhovskie beat Bosna for the second time, Löwen tie against Zagreb to go on to the next stage.
Lions and Bears in the Quarterfinals
The Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champion League are beginning to look a little like a zoo. The first two teams to qualify are (Chekhovskie) Bears and (Rhein Neckar) Lions.
Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) – Bosna Sarajevo (BIH) 30:17 (11:9)
It took 30 minutes but then the Bears from Chekhov started stepped up into express mode. After the clear 31:22 away victory in Sarajevo the Russians needed one half to find their rhythm in the return match.
Thanks to three straight goals and an improved defence, Chekhov took over the control.
Rhein Neckar Löwen (GER) – RK Croatia Ossiguranje Zagreb (CRO) 27:27 (11:9)
The 31:28 victory in Zagreb was worth its weight in gold for the Löwen: The return match on home ground was a thrilling game for the Germans but in the end they qualified for the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarterfinals for the second time.
Both teams played close to perfection in defence in the first half – so only four field goals were scored in total after 15 minutes.
In the first 30 minutes Löwen were in the lead most of the time – but could not increase the gap intermediately due to the number of errors in attack.
Balic returning to the court more often – cheered loudly by the huge number of Croatian spectators in Mannheim – Zagreb improved, though not just because of Balic’s goals and they equalized at 12:12 in the 35th minute.
It was Ivano Balic who brought the first lead to the Croats exactly four minutes before the end at the 24:23.
Statements after the match:
Ivica Obrvan, coach Zagreb: “The draw is a success for us, as we had to replace four injured players – and Balic and Valcic could not play at 100 percent. It was a great pleasure to play in this arena. I think Löwen are a candidate for the FINAL4 and even could even win the Champions League this season.”
Marko Kopljar, player Zagreb: “We missed the Quarterfinals in the first match in Zagreb, not today. Our defence and goalkeeping were much better than on Sunday, but as Löwen have much more alternatives on the bench they qualified for the next stage.”
Gudmundur Gudmundsson, coach Löwen: “It was a huge piece of work against a very strong opponent. It was obvious before that this would be a tough match. Before the break our defence and goalkeeper were good and the attack was weak, and after the break the attack improved in the same time as the defence became weaker. I am very satisfied that we have reached the Quarterfinals which means a big success for our club after tough Group Matches and Last 16 games.”
Ivan Cupic, player Löwen: “Like I said in Zagreb, today was the second half of a match. After winning the first and having a tie in the second we are through now. Zagreb were clearly better compared to the first leg, but in the crucial stage Gensheimer and Tkaczyk scored the decisive goals. It was unfortunate that our final attacks did not end with a goal, because I would have liked to win this game.”
TEXT: Björn Pazen