Aalborg conquer Kiel’s fortress; Magdeburg win MOTW
Round 7 of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League concluded with two German-Danish duels: While Aalborg Handbold had an impressive performance to cause THW Kiel’s biggest ever home defeat in the Champions League history, SC Magdeburg finally won a clear MOTW victory after the match had been equal for 47 minutes. Barça (at Plock) and Szeged (against Eurofarm Pelister) took victories, Kielce tied at Zagreb.
- The 18:27 loss against Aalborg was the biggest ever home defeat for THW Kiel in the EHF Champions League and their six goals in the first half was their lowest in competition history.
- Aalborg’s goalkeeper, Niklas Landin saved 52% of his former club's shots
- Thanks to scoring the last two goals, Kielce took a lucky draw at Zagreb after a fully equal match
- Marco Sostaric and an intermediate 7:0 run were crucial for Szeged’s victory against Eurofarm Pelister
- A 9:1 run in the last 13 minutes paved Magdeburg’s way to their fifth straight victory against GOG
- Barça were constantly ahead at Plock, and the comeback of the host came too late
In terms of goals scored, the first half was the weakest one in EHF Champions League history for THW Kiel. 23 years ago, Kiel only scored seven times at HC Zagreb (7:8) and finally lost 13:33. Against their former goalkeeper, Niklas Landin, the German record champions only netted six times in 30 minutes. At the break Landin was on more than 57% saved shots – and that was the basis for the sensational 11:6 lead. After the break, the visitors constantly had the upper hand, while Kiel still had enormous problems in attack. Only Niclas Ekberg (seven) and Nikola Bilyk (five) were effective on offense as they combined for two-thirds of Kiel's 18 goals. Aalborg's success was based on a team performance with 11 players on the scorer list. But, one player, who did not score, topped all of them: Niklas Landin with 19 saves (51%) at the end. It was Kiel's biggest ever home defeat, topping previous eight goal losses against Nantes (27:35 in 2021) and Flensburg (22:30 in 2016). Despite the loss, THW still remain on top of the table while Aalborg have now passed Kolstad and Paris to be second now with nine points.
Congratulations to Aalborg on this more than deserved victory. You can't win a game like this with our efficiency in attack. It's tough to swallow, but unfortunately it wasn't our day today.
It's always something special for me to play in this arena. That's why it was also a special game for me. We took on today's task, played well and are therefore very happy with the result.
Except for a narrow 2:1 lead early in the match, Industria Kielce trailed Zagreb throughout, but they still grabbed a point thanks to the last goal of the match, scored by Nicolas Tournat. For both teams it was their second draw of the season (Zagreb against Aalborg, Kielce against Szeged) – but the Polish champions can be happy with this point. The hosts led most of the way, but never by more than three-goals (7:4 in the first half). in the second half, the gap was never more than two goals with the last time in minute 56, when Zvonimir Srna netted for a 22:20 lead. Alex Dujshebaev, then Tournat scored to tie the match for Kielce, and Zagreb's outstanding goalkeeper, Matej Mandic (17 saves) was stopped on a long range empty net shot by Dani Dujshebaev to end the match. Kielce remain fifth, now level with Paris, while Zagreb were passed by Szeged to be on the seventh rank with six points now. Milos Kos (five goals for Zagreb) and Dani Dujshebaev (four goals for Kielce) were the top scorers in a defense-oriented match.
Both teams delivered an amazing performance here today. Goalkeeper Mandic definitely had a day, and I believe he's the main reason why we did not secure both points here today. However, we've got to keep it real and say that after such a match, we simply must be happy with this point in the end.
This is the third game this season in which we ended up losing point(s) in the final second, and that's something we'll have to work for starting with the road game in Kielce, and the home one against Szeged.
HC Eurofarm Pelister missed another opportunity to pick up their first points of the season as the Macedonian champions kept the match close for 45 minutes, but again, came up shortly in the end. The visitors had a flying start in the first ever duel between the two sides to forge a 10:5 lead, although PICK Szeged improved in attack to narrow the gap to just one goal at the break. Things, however, completely changed in the second half as Szeged's goalkeeper Roland Mikler stood like a wall, backing the defense with his saves – and Szeged managed to score many easy goals. Finally, a 7:0 run from 20:21 to 27:21 decided the encounter. Having seven points on their account now, Szeged have passed Zagreb and are now sixth in the group. Netting nine times, Szeged's Slovenian, Marco Sostaric consolidated his second position in the top scorer list with 56 goals overall.
We didn't start well and it was difficult for us because we had to change a lot in our internal positions. Our attack worked and thanks to that we were not at a bigger disadvantage. In the second half our defense got better, we fought well, and the players coming off the bench were able to add a lot to our game.
It's always a great feeling to play in Szeged as it's one of the best halls in Europe. In the beginning we followed our coach's tactical vision, but this did not work in the second, mostly because Roli Mikler was great.
Barça stroke back after their historic 36:41 home defeat against Veszprém in the previous round, but their sixth group phase victory was not an easy one as Orlen Wisla Plock stood strong throughout the whole 60 minutes. The win propels them to the top again, equal with Veszprém, while Plock remains on two points after their sixth defeat. A slightly better goalkeeper performance and another strong effort from team captain, Dika Mem, who added seven more goals to his tally (in total on 47 strikes), were the main reasons for Barça's victory. It was definitely not a goal-fest for the record winners of the competition, as Plock had adapted well in defense. In total, Barça's win was well deserved as they stayed in front of the whole match. Their biggest gap in the first half was five goals (14:9), but after the break, when the visitors had pulled ahead to 21:15, Plock started a spirited comeback, which came too late. Tin Lucin was Plock's top scorer with eight goals.
I want to congratulate my team for leaving their hearts on the court and doing their best. We have definitely taken another step forward in our development.
We are happy to have won here after the tough period we have had with a lot of matches. I've been here twice and it's great to win in this arena, especially since I got sacked after the last, worse result here.
For 47 minutes, GOG were an extremely tough nut to crack for SC Magdeburg, but finally the defending EHF Champions League winners took their fifth consecutive win to pass the Danish side in the table. Four days after winning the IHF Super Globe final in extra-time against Füchse Berlin 34:32 in Saudi Arabia, SCM needed some time to adapt to GOG. Coach Bennet Wiegert found the right words in his first time-out, when his side was down by 4:8 after an impressive start from the visitors. From the time Magdeburg first tied the score at 14:14 until it was tied at 26:26, the match was on a fully equal level. And, then GOG were overrun by Magdeburg despite a brave performance and eight goals from top scorer, Emil Madsen. GOG scored just once to Magdeburg's nine in the final 13 minutes for their second straight defeat. Funny enough: two Danes were the best scorers for the victors: Michael Damgaard, who was awarded Player of the Match, with seven strikes and Magnus Saugstrup with six goals from six attempts.
We played a good first half - in attack and defense. But we played against the best team in the world and that showed.
It was a tough game in which we made too many mistakes in the first 40 minutes. We got better and better in the second half and were particularly convincing in crunch time. In the end, I'm very proud of my team after all the exertions of the past few days.