Champions League: Champions League: THW Kiel needs consistency and a win against Szeged

As of: September 21, 2023 9:11 a.m

Today THW Kiel welcomes Pick Szeged from Hungary in the Handball Champions League. Despite the clear opening success in Zagreb, the German record champions will have to improve to achieve their second victory.

First the victory in the Croatian capital, then a free weekend – now the Champions League really begins for the “Zebras”. Today (6.45 p.m.) the German handball champion will face the Hungarian runner-up in the home arena, one of the supposed opponents in the fight for the top places in the strong Group A.

The new THW goalkeeper Bellahcene before his debut

“We are looking forward to a home game against a great team,” said THW left-hander Harald Reinkind. His team will present itself to the fans with a new addition. Goalkeeper Samir Bellahcene, who came to Kiel from the French first division club US Dunkerque, made his debut in the French national jersey in the spring and is now set to play for the “Zebras” for the first time and support long-time favorite Tomas Mrkva.

“We had to react because Vincent Gerard will unfortunately be missing from us not just for a few weeks, but probably for a few more months,” explained THW managing director Viktor Szilagyi. In addition, Hendrik Pekeler (heel), Sven Ehrig (knee) and Steffen Weinhold (shoulder) are still forced to watch.

Szeged with a new coach

The guest from Hungary experienced a turning point in the summer. After ten years, the Spanish coach Juan Carlos Pastor left. Krisztian Karpati, previously active in the youth sector, took over the position, but is only seen as a temporary solution. From July 2024, the Swedes Michael Apelgren and Jonas Källman will form a coaching duo.

The stars in the current team are the Slovenian playmaker Dean Bombac and the Hungarian internationals Roland Mikler and Bence Banhidi. The Croatian left-hander Mario Sostaric was the top scorer for Szeged in the 29:31 opening defeat against Paris.

“There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
— THW-Trainer Filip Jicha

THW last faced this opponent in the group stage last season. In February, Schleswig-Holstein lost 33:36 in Szeged, a few months earlier they had won 34:29 in their home game. The “Zebras” wouldn’t mind a repeat.

Coach Filip Jicha was overall satisfied with the win in Zagreb, but also saw “a lot of room for improvement.” In particular, the error rate in attack was too high after a strong 20 minutes at the beginning – as was the case in the league defeats against Flensburg and Melsungen – and could have put Kiel in trouble against a stronger opponent. One such is Pick Szeged, so Jicha protégés should be warned.

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NDR 2 Sport | Sep 21, 2023 | 11:03 p.m


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