THW Kiel started the Handball Champions League with a victory. The German record champions won 30:23 (16:9) at HC Zagreb on Thursday – balm for the soul of the Schleswig-Holstein team after a difficult week in the Bundesliga.
After two bitter league defeats in a row in the derby against Flensburg and against leaders Melsungen, the Croatian series champions were obviously exactly the right opponents: THW threw themselves into the Bundesliga frustration without even having to exhaust themselves, thanks to a strong start A bit far from the soul. The best players for the “Zebras” were backcourt player Mykola Bilyk and goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva, the best thrower was circle runner Patrick Wiencek with eight goals.
However, the duel was never suitable as a way of determining where to stand in the difficult Champions League Group A; the Croatians were far too weak for the entire 60 minutes. Pick Szeged from Hungary should be of a different caliber next Thursday (6:45 p.m.).
THW starts strong, Zagreb is shockingly weak
Coach Filip Jicha’s team was dominant from the start in the Croatian capital, both offensively and defensively. Less than seven minutes had been played when Kiel had their first four-goal lead: Bilyk scored three times and Wiencek scored twice to make it 5-1. In attack, two or three quick passes were usually enough to break up the hosts’ dispassionate and slow defense and generate free throws in the circle or from the backcourt. The THW defense was strong in defence, but with Zagreb’s completely uninspired game they didn’t have a particularly difficult task on their hands.
And if the HC did get through, Kiel’s keeper Mrkva took away 50 percent of the shots on goal until the middle of the first period – as in the 18th minute, when he unnerved Karpo Sirotic, who appeared free in front of him. At the front, the German record champions faded after a 14-5 lead (17th minute) in the second half of the first period, but they still went into the dressing room with a seven-goal lead – 16:9.
Kiel had many technical errors in the second half
Shortly after the restart, Niclas Ekberg received a red card after an excessive foul (32nd), but little changed in the general picture. The “Zebras” didn’t have to show any particular creativity to manage the lead: youngster Jarnes Faust scored to make it 22:14 (39th).
HC Zagreb – THW Kiel 23:30 (9:16)
Tore Zagreb: Dibirov (4), Srna (3), Cupic (3), Cuni Morales (3), Kos (2), Faljic (2), Klarica (2), Sirotic (2), Kavcic (1), Suholeznik (1)
Tore Like: Wincek (8), Bylik (5), Landin (3), Faust (3), Johansson (3), Ekberg (2), Reinkind (2), Ellefsen a Skipagotu (2), Duvnjak (2)
As a result, as against Flensburg and Melsungen, the THW made significantly more technical errors: sloppy passes, coordination errors, hasty and inaccurate shots. Zagreb reduced the deficit to five goals seven minutes before the end (26:21 for Kiel). Important in this phase: Mrkva’s parade against right winger Yoel Cuni Morales (55th), which prevented further advances. In contrast to the league games, the offensive inaccuracies no longer mattered in the end and the Jicha team was able to celebrate an overall successful start to the Champions League.
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Sports current | Sep 14, 2023 | 9:17 p.m