Kiel back in second place after beating Vardar
After 48 minutes of their group A match in the EHF Champions League Men against HC Vardar 1961, THW Kiel's victory seemed assured as they led by five goals. Although Vardar mounted a strong comeback in the closing stages, Kiel held on to claim a 32:30 home win.
After their sixth victory this season, Kiel are on 13 points and sit in second place in the standings after passing Aalborg Håndbold and Pick Szeged, both of which are three points behind Montpellier HB.
- Kiel recorded their fifth straight victory against Vardar and their eighth win overall in 10 matches against the team from Skopje
- it took Kiel 10 minutes to take the lead for the first time, 6:5, but backed by Sander Sagosen's goals, they extended the gap to 11:6
- however, Vardar struck back and remained on a relatively even footing until the 38th minute
- while Vardar never gave up after Kiel had a 7:2 run that appeared to decide the game, they could not reduce the gap to less than two goals
- Magnus Landin's goal that gave Kiel a three-goal lead, 32:29, with less than 30 seconds remaining confirmed the German side's win
- the scoring battle was like a private duel between Kiel's Sander Sagosen (eight goals) and Vardar's Ante Kuduz (nine goals)
Two former IHF World Player of the Year winners on the bench
It is quite rare that two former winners of the IHF World Player of the Year award meet each other as coaches in the EHF Champions League Men. At the moment, there are only three previous winners coaching clubs in the EHF Champions League.
While Filip Jicha has already won the EHF Champions League as a coach and as a player with THW Kiel, Veselin Vujovic won the IHF Champions Cup as a player three times and has steered Vardar to the SEHA League title. On Thursday night, Jicha narrowly won the duel of the former world stars for the second time this season.
I’m a little bit depressive because the match was very close the whole time. But Kiel is Kiel, one of the best Europeans teams, the best German team, the team with a great history. We were nearly all the time behind Kiel, but we fought until the end.
In the first half we started very well, but we m de too many mistakes and we let Vardar come back. The same procedure was in the second half. Vardar didn't let us go, they fought and so it was a really close match until the final whistle.