Thrilling goal-fest ends with a draw in Kiel
Still missing five injured players, including both regular left wings, THW Kiel tried everything to avoid their first home defeat of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 season against a strong Aalborg Håndbold side.
In a close, thrilling and high-level goal-fest with 72 strikes, Kiel did not lose, but they also did not win. 34 seconds before the end, Sebastian Barthold levelled the score at 36:36 for Aalborg, while Austrian back Nikola Bilyk missed the last shot of the match for Kiel.
THW Kiel (GER) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) 36:36 (17:16)
- two young Danes were in the focus for Aalborg in the first 20 minutes: Mads Hoxer Hangaard scored four goals from four attempts in that time, while goalkeeper Simon Gade had an intermediate save percentage of 45 per cent and remained at a top level until the end with 12 saves overall
- Kiel were behind until the 27th minute and then they turned a 13:15 deficit into a 17:16 half-time lead
- but despite a great match from new Swedish arrival Eric Johansson, who scored nine goals, Kiel let their early advantage in the second half slip when they went three goals down in the 38th minute
- Aalborg’s top star Mikkel Hansen scored seven goals and is again the second top scorer in the competition. Hansen's total of 42 goals is only topped by Celje's Aleks Vlah (48)
- former THW player Aron Pálmarsson was also on fire for Aalborg, scoring six times from nine attempts
- the game went back and forth, and Kiel did not trail again after leading 30:29, but they could not shake off their opponents. In the last five minutes, Kiel took the lead four times, Aalborg levelled the score four times and, ultimately, it finished as a draw
One returned to Kiel; one will leave
Aron Pálmarsson started his outstanding top-flight career with Kiel, becoming the youngest two-time Champions League winner at the age of 21. Subsequently, he has only played for top clubs such as Telekom Veszprém, Barça – where he won his third EHF Champions League trophy – and since 2021 Aalborg.
Next season, THW Kiel goalkeeper Niklas Landin will become Pálmarsson's teammate at Aalborg. Unfortunately for the current IHF Player of the Year, it was not his best match against his future club, as he saved only one shot from 18 faced.
It is always a pleasure to play in this extraordinary atmosphere. We really wanted to win here and we had the chance at plus three. That's why we are disappointed to only be able to take a point – even though we could be just as happy with this point after the last five minutes. It was a just, fair draw.
It was a really tough, great game – a 60-minute fight. We are disappointed not to have won today. Aalborg are too, so it was a fair draw. We didn't have the best defence and goalkeeping today. We have to work on improving that.
The draw is fair, even if we had the chance to win with the last throw. We only had two saves in the second half – then you can't win a game like this. You need that support to get two points here. We are going through tough times with a lot of games, so I am especially proud of my young players like Eric Johansson, Yannick Fraatz and Malte Voigt today. They played without fear