Gröndahl paves Elverum's way to victory
Sometimes history repeats itself in the EHF Champions League Men. Just like in the fifth round against HC PPD Zagreb, Elverum Handball's match winners on Thursday evening against HC Meshkov Brest were goalkeeper Emil Kheri Imsgard, who saved 12 shots, and top scorer Tobias Gröndahl, who netted nine times.
While Elverum are now sensationally level with Pick Szeged and Aalborg Håndbold on eight points, the situation for Meshkov Brest, who are still on zero points after six rounds, is becoming tougher.
- thanks to this victory in Belarus, Elverum equalled their longest unbeaten run in the EHF Champions League from 2018 – four matches
- in the 2020/21 season, Elverum had five points after 14 matches. Head coach Börge Lund's team now have eight points this season
- Meshkov's last lead was in the 17th minute, 6:5, and Elverum then took the upper hand with a 9:5 run before the break
- despite a strong comeback from Brest goalkeeper Ivan Pesic, who finished with 13 saves, Emil Kheri Imsgard won the goalkeepers' duel. He made eight saves in the first half (42 per cent) and finished with a total of 12 saves
- like in Elverum's 34:30 win in the fourth round against Pick Szeged, 20-year-old centre back Tobias Gröndahl scored nine goals. Elverum’s unpolished diamond has scored 36 goals in six matches
- Meshkov reduced the gap from six goals to 24:25 in the 51st minute, but Gröndahl’s double strike and two more goals from his teammates gave Elverum a decisive 29:24 lead
A huge step towards Elverum’s main goal
In the 2020/21 season, Elverum profited from the Covid-19 situation as they played in the knockout stage of the EHF Champions League Men for the first time. After finishing last in group A, they were then taught two tough lessons in the play-off round by subsequent champions Barca.
However, things have now changed for the Norwegian champions. With eight points after six rounds, Elverum are already seven points clear of seventh-placed Zagreb – and six teams normally qualify for the knockout stage.
It's not easy to play here. This is one of the toughest arenas in the Champions League, but we were able to show our best side. I have to thank Thorsten Fries, who was an excellent substitute for me. He made some important saves.
Pesic played the whole match today. We haven't changed the goalkeeper for the first time in the current Champions League, but we had a huge number of mistakes at important moments of the match. It was the number of errors that determined the result. We need to think carefully about this game.