Szeged make it to the play-offs
With a 36:33 victory over THW Kiel, the Hungarian champions, Pick Szedged have secured their spot among the top six teams of group B. A strong run in the last 15 minutes – turned a 16:20 deficit around - and sealed the deal. Kiel’s race for a direct spot in the quarter-finals has come to an end since Kielce took the points against Aalborg yesterday to clinch at least second place in the group.
Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. THW Kiel (GER) 36:33 (14:17)
- with the score tied 4:4, Kiel took the upper hand, and eventually pulled ahead for a four goal lead, 14:10, thanks to an improved defensive effort that managed to stop Szeged’s strong back court shooters
- right after the break, the visitors had another strong period and were leading 20:16 - line players Patrick Wiencek and Hendrik Pekeler were unstoppable – but, then Szeged managed to get back into the match
- thanks to a 4:0 run, the hosts managed to level the score several times - but, Kiel consistently took the lead back
- However, with the score tied at 28:28 with 11 minutes remaining, Szeged seized the lead and never looked back - when Mario Sostaric scored to make it 35:32, the deal was sealed – even the red card against line player Bence Banhidi (after three suspensions) did not have an impact
- top scorers were Imanol Garciandia with eight goals for Szeged and Sander Sagosen, who scored seven times for Kiel.
Szeged back in the knock-out stage
Like the past two years, Pick Szeged have made it to the knock-out stage of the EHF Champions League. The Hungarian champions have been regular participants in the Last 16 (13 times) and have also been quarter-finalists five times. After a weak start to the season with four defeats in a row, Pick have managed to turn the tide this season, taking four victories in the next six matches. Thanks to their home victory over Kiel – like in the previous season – Szeged have now confirmed their participation in the knock-out stage. Seventh ranked side Celje cannot pass them anymore, as Szeged won both matches against the Slovenian record champions. This means, five teams for the next stages from group B are confirmed as Celje can only pass the currently sixth ranked team, Aalborg.
Mikler defended in a brilliant way and that might have been the key to win. We have to swallow this defeat and prepare for the next tasks.
Both teams played a good game; in the first half Kiel, in the second half we did. There was a great atmosphere andwe needed the fans in order to play well.