Ekberg steers Kiel to opening victory
In the first match of the 2021/22 season, THW Kiel underlined their ambitions in the EHF Champions League Men on Wednesday evening with a 33:30 away victory against HC Meshkov Brest.
With goalkeeper Dario Quenstedt making nine saves and Swedish right wing Niclas Ekberg scoring 11 goals from 13 shots, the four-time EHF Champions League winners were never in danger against Meshkov Brest in Belarus.
- Brest's injured goalkeeper and team captain Ivan Pesic was replaced by Ilya Usik
- Kiel took their eighth victory against Meshkov from nine matches — and they gained revenge for the 33:30 defeat in February 2020
- Meshkov’s only lead in the match was at 1:0. At 8:4, Kiel had taken control, though Brest later reduced Kiel's advantage to one goal
- the first half was a personal duel between two right wings: Niclas Ekberg (Kiel) scored six of his 11 goals, while Brest’s Mikita Valupau converted five of his six shots
- at 29:24, five minutes before the end, the deal seemed to be sealed, but Meshkov reduced the gap to two goals. When Harald Reinkind’s strike put Kiel ahead 32:29, the German champions' victory was assured
Nikola Bilyk back on international court
In the middle of August 2020, Nikola Bilyk suffered a severe knee injury, tore several ligaments and then missed all of the 2020/21 season. The Austrian left back needed exactly 364 days for his comeback in a test match.
In his first official match since returning, the German Super Cup, he scored the winner for Kiel. On Wednesday, though, the 24-year-old Austrian giant remained without a goal in his first match back in the EHF Champions League.
I’m satisfied that we won two points today here in Brest, where it is not easy to do it. We started very well and were focused at the beginning. Unfortunately for us, Meshkov Brest improved their performance after 10 minutes. We had to fight a lot in this good Champions League match of two great teams.