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23.04.2011, 18:33◄ last page     

HSV Hamburg on the way to Cologne after clear 38:24 over Chekhovskie Medvedi in the first leg of the Quarterfinals.

Bears without claws

Two days after Ciudad Real’s 38:24 victory in Flensburg HSV Hamburg have the same comfortable position for the second leg of the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League: The Germans tamed the Russian Bears from Chekhovskie Medvedi on home ground with the same result: 38:24 thanks to an absolute improvement of their defence after the break.

Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League, leg 1:

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) 38:24 (20:15)

Cologne is close for HSV Hamburg: The Germans clashed Chekhovskie Medvedi in their last but one step to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with an absolute clear 38:24 (20:15). The Russians now need more than a little wonder to turn the page. Top scorers in this one-sided game were Marcin Lijewski (7) and Pascal Hens (6) for Hamburg and Wassili Fillipov (Chekhov) with four goals. For HSV is was the fourth victory in the fifth ever match against the "Bears" - and the biggest distance, even as Kraus and Marcin Lijewski were missing.

The first 30 minutes were imprinted by strong attacks and weak defences on both sides. Hamburg took the lead after the 2:3, scored four straight goals and forced Chekhovskie coach Vladimir Maximov to take an early time-pout. But nothing changed in the next minutes, in contrast: The Germans extended the gap intermediately to seven goals at the score of 15:8 in minute 21 and especially the right attack side of HSV played brilliant: Krzysztof Lijewski, Schröder and Lindbergh scored twelve of the 20 HSV goals before the break.On the Russian side the tall and powerful back court strikers were nearly unstoppable in the first half (20:15).

Coach Martin Schwalb found the right words in the dressing room, especially concerning the defence performance. Aside he changed the goalkeeper from Johannes Bitter to Per Sandstöm, which improved the defence, too. Chekhovskie lacked ideas and speed against this newly built wall and missed three penalty shots– Hamburg needed only twelve more minutes to have an eight goal cushion at the 26:18.

Despite some strong saves of goalkeeper Oleg Grams the Russian “Bears” could not catch-up again to the host. When Chekhovski lacked some powers in the final stage, Hamburg had more and better alternatives – and due to this rotation and three straight goals of Pascal Hens extended the lead to nine goals (29:20), before Maximov took his second time-out eleven minutes before the final whistle.

But instead of closing the gap Hamburg improved again – as Hens really paced up. With his fifth goal in less then ten minutes he brought the first ten goal lead for his club at the 33:23 five minutes before the end and paved the way to a clear victory and great chances to reach their final destination Cologne. But the hunger was still not sated, as HSV extended the gap to 36:23 and finished the match with a 14 goal distance of 38:24.

Statements after the match:

Martin Schwalb, coach Hamburg: “This was only the first half of the Quarterfinals – we have to be sure of this. We have a really tough struggle ahead in Russia. The final result doesn’t mirror the run-down of the match, especially in the first ten minutes after the break Chekhovskie had their chances. Medvedi will give all they can in the return match, but we will start with fire and determination to qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.”

Vladimir Kushnir, assistant coach Medvedi: “This is an absolute bad result for us, but Hamburg played very well. We did not have any means to stop this world class team. It was the strongest opponent in our whole season.”

Krzysztof Lijewski, player Hamburg: „It was doing really well for us, as one fought for the other – the whole team showed a great performance.“

Siarhei Harbok, player Medvedi: “The first ten minutes of the second half were decisive. We missed three penalty shots and caused too many mistakes.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen

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