Kiel and Veszprém meet in semi-final classic
As players, Kiel coach Filip Jicha and his Veszprém counterpart David Davis locked horns in three EHF Champions League finals.
Davis, playing for Ciudad Real, won in 2008 and 2009 in the old format against Jicha and Kiel, but his rival struck back in 2012 in Cologne against Atletico Madrid. Now it is their first major duel on the benches, with Veszprém looking like the stronger squad.
While Kiel hope for their seventh EHF Champions League final in history, and the first in Cologne since 2014, Veszprém are hoping to end their curse of not winning the trophy, starting with a victory over their rivals in the semi-final.
THW Kiel (GER) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Monday 28 December, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV.com
- Kiel and Veszprém meet for a fourth time in the semi-finals at the VELUX EHF FINAL4; Kiel won in 2014 and Veszprém in 2015 and 2016, but neither of them went on to win the final the following day
- Veszprém have won 11 of the 22 EHF Champions League matches between the two sides and Kiel 10; they drew 31:31 in the 2020/21 group phase in October this year
- either goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales (Veszprém) or left back Sander Sagosen (Kiel) will face their former club PSG on Sunday, either in the final or the placement match
- Veszprém are missing former THW and Flensburg player Rasmus Lauge due to a knee injury; Kiel’s left back Nikola Bilyk is out for the same reason
- THW players Pavel Horak and Magnus Landin are ruled out due to Covid-19 infections, while Domagoj Duvnjak is not yet fully recovered and left wing Rune Dahmke also has knee problems, making their semi-final participation uncertain
- Duvnjak (Hamburg 2013) and Steffen Weinhold (Flensburg 2014) are the only current members of the Kiel squad to have previously won the EHF Champions League
- Rogerio Moraes is the only former Kiel player who will be on court for Veszprém in Cologne
- Andreas Nilsson (Hamburg 2013), Rodrigo Corrales (Barcelona 2015), Manuel Strlek (Kielce 2016), Jorge Maqueda (Vardar 2017), Rogerio Moraes and Daniil Shishkarev (both Vardar 2019) and Vuko Borozan (Vardar 2017) are the former EHF Champions League winners in Veszprém’s squad
- in the 2019/20 season, Kiel won group B with 20 points, equal with runners-up Veszprém, beating the Hungarian side twice
- Kiel’s right wing Niklas Ekberg needs six goals to become top scorer of the 2019/20 season, after scoring 70 in the group phase, five below Montpellier’s Hugo Descat. Petar Nenadic is Veszprém’s top scorer with 62 goals
Veszprém goalkeeper Vladimir Cupara: “I have amazing feelings and we are in a good shape now. We do not feel such a big pressure, but there is still pressure, because Veszprém never won the Champions League. Believe me, every player here is dreaming about winning the tournament this year.”
THW Kiel goalkeeper and team captain Niklas Landin: “We are ready for Cologne, we only have this particular point on our to-do-list now, the VELUX EHF FINAL4. We want to attack twice in two days, though we know that this year we are not the favourite. But looking upon the last editions, the favourite never won, so the constellation can be an advantage for us.”