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EHF Champions League

Brilliant endgame and goalkeeping masterclass keep Barça unbeaten

MAL7445 V EHF / Björn Pazen

Like their matches the past two weeks versus THW Kiel, Barça were close to a defeat, but again the defending champions showed an impressive endgame against Aalborg Handbold. For the visitors, the 31:26 defeat at Palau Blaugrana was their fifth straight match in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League without a victory. Barça extended their unbeaten run in the Champions League to 18 matches since 24 November 2021 and are back on top of the group with 17 points. Aalborg were passed by THW Kiel and now rank fifth. Barça’s hero was goalkeeper, Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, who saved 54% of all Aalborg shots in the second half.  

GROUP B: 

Barça (ESP) vs. Aalborg Handbold (DEN) 32:26 (15:16) 

  • it was the 11th duel between the two sides - and for the 11th time, Barça were victorious, with the same six goal margin like in the first match at Aalborg (39:33) 
  • Mikael Aggefors saved almost 40% of Barça's shots in the first half - and he clearly won the goalkeeper duel against his fellow countryman, Emil Nielsen, who was replaced by Gonzalo Perez de Vargas after the break 
  • and this change between the goal posts was crucial for Barça: as Aggefors continued on a high level, but Perez de Vargas became the key for the hosts, finishing on 12 saves. 
  • the game went back and forth until the 23:22 lead for Aalborg - then the visitors missed too many chances, scored only once in ten minutes and these mistakes in attack were punished immediately by Barça’s decisive 6:1 run for the 28:24 
  • returning to their former club, Aalborg’s stars Mikkel Hansen and Aron Palmarsson scored four goals each, but also combined for ten missed shots 
  • top scorers were Dika Mem with nine goals for Barça and Felix Claar, who netted six times for Aalborg

Barça know how to withstand the heat 

It is a matter of experience, of individual class and the unbreakable will to fight until the end, which makes Barça so strong. The defending and record champions of the EHF Champions League have played so many crucial matches and they have become experts in withstanding the heat. They remained cold as ice in the 2022 final, beating Kielce after a penalty shoot-out, and in this season, they were lucky to score the last two goals in the draw at Kiel and - one week later - to turn the match against THW around in the last minutes. Against Aalborg, this strength, combined with the masterclass of goalkeeper, Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, was again the key to their remaining the only unbeaten team of the current Champions League season.  

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