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29.12.2012, 09:27◄ last page     

After 14 failed attempts in five years SG defeated arch rivals from Kiel in the match of two German VELUX EHF Champions League participants

Flensburg celebrate derby victory

The Christmas celebration had a special flavour for players and fans of SG Flensburg-Handewitt this year. They had been waiting a long time at the Danish-German border for this day, but, finally, after 14 failed attempts in five years, the hosts defeated the top favourites and arch rivals THW Kiel with 35:29 (19:14) in the German league derby between two participants of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Now all were cheering together, singing and dancing. "With these spectators in the back we forget all the pain in our bones," said playmaker Thomas Mogensen with a thankful voice.

Most amazing was the mental strength of Flensburg with scarce resources. Kiel could permanently rotate in the backcourt, however they could not find the rhythm. On the other hand the home team entered the challenge with only eight field players. And only three players were available for the second row.

When Holger Glandorf, who erased the last doubts on the winning path with his goals in the second half, needed a break, Flensburg´s coach Ljubomir Vranjes decided for an unorthodox tactic with a second line player. "Perhaps our small squad was also an advantage," explained the SG player Michael Knudsen. "Each of us knew that he was very important for the team and everybody fought unconditionally."

After the ninth victory in a row in the German league Flensburg is just three points behind Kiel and five behind leader Rhein-Neckar Löwen. "When you work continuously the success comes automatically," Vranjes said, but he also pointed out: "We won only one match against THW. That does not mean that we have reached the same level."

The eternal candidate for the bundesliga title seemed to be vulnerable. "It is a bitter end for this year," coach Alfred Gislason admitted. "But it is quite normal to lose by the third placed team if you have a bad performance."

"With the first half of the season we can still be satisfied. For the final part of the season we still keep the best starting point. Other teams know that as well," Filip Jícha stated.

In fact: The THW will play against all strongest opponents in the domestic arena. "Then we must show that we are the best team in the league," the Icelander Aron Palmarsson underlined.

Both teams will return to action in the VELUX EHF Champions League only in February. The defending champions from Kiel will travel to Gothenburg to face IK Sävehof in Group B and Flensburg will host Partizan Beograd in Group A. Both rivals have already clinched the Last 16 berths before the Round 8.                        

TEXT: Jan Kirschner / br

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