EHFCL Round 7 recap: Celje cause a huge upset in Kiel

Jaka Malus

Champions League Round 7 was not the best one for most SEHA teams. On Saturday, Gorenje and Meshkov recorded losses, and Vardar beat PPD Zagreb in Zagreb. However, Celje registered a huge away win at one of the hardest away fixtures.

Group B: Meshkov Brest - SG Flensburg Handewitt 28:30 (15:16)

For the second week in a row, Meshkov hosted a German team and recorded a second loss in a row. The match was close all throughout, and Meshkov had a couple of chances to take the lead. They started the second half quite well, even taking the lead. However, Flensburg took the game in their hands at that point and never looked back. The experienced Rastko Stojkovic led the Belarusians with 6 goals, Shkurinskiy and Rutenka chipped in with 4 each. For Flensburg, Wanne had 7 and Zachariassen added 6. The Germans now have 10 points, whilst Meshkov Brest are still on 5. The two teams are meeting again next Sunday in Germany!

Group C: Ademar Leon - Gorenje Velenje 28:24 (15:13)

Ademar Leon started the match well, taking control of it from the early start. The Spanish team even had a +6 lead a few times, and grabbed a well-deserved win in Round 7. Niko Medved with 7 and Nejce Cehte with 5 stood out for the Slovenians, but they were the only ones capable of providing a good offensive display of Saturday. On the other side Fernandez Sanchez had 6 to lead the hosts. Both teams now have 4 wins and 3 losses and the race for the next round cannot get any closer. Gorenje now host Dinamo Bucuresti next Thursday.

Group A: PPD Zagreb - Vardar 23:29 (10:15)

Vardar and PPD Zagreb met for the third time this season, and Vardar earned another victory. It seems that the European champions are truly unstoppable this season. Ivan Cupic scored 7 goals and Vuko Borozan scored 6 to take his Champions League tally to 39. Stipe Mandalinic led the hosts once more with 6 goals, but no one else was really able to get it going against the tough defence and incredible Arpad Sterbik. It was another classic performance from Vardar, as they took control of the match at an early stage; they were even up by 6 a few times in the first half. Once again Vardar proved that they are at another level compared to PPD Zagreb, and maybe even the rest of the Group A, leading everyone with 13 points. PPD Zagreb are yet to win a match in Champions League this season, drawing 2 and losing 5. The Croatian champions now travel to France to play Nantes, whereas Vardar host RN Loewen in Round 8.

Group B: THW Kiel - Celje Pivovarna Lasko 26:29 (15:14)

In an incredibly tight match in Kiel, Celje managed to secure their second win of the season in Champions League. Despite, the hosts being the heavy favorites to win the match, Celje's brave performance earned them an incredible 2 points. Even though Kiel were up at the half, the Slovenian champions did not give up and kept fighting until the very end to grab the deserved victory. Jaka Malus led the way with 8 goals, Igor Anic scored some important goals late in the game and had 5 in total. The youngster Branko Vujovic also had 5 from the right back position. For the hosts: Ekberg had 6 and Zeitz added 5. Both teams now have 5 points after 7 rounds, as Kiel's poor season continues.

Group D: Metalurg - Montpellier 21:27 (14:16)

Metalurg played a good first half, keeping the scoreline close, even though Montpellier clearly was the better side. However, they only managed to score 7 goals in the second part of the match, making it impossible to cause an upset against the strong French team. Metalurg can definitely take some positivies out of this match, but they would have liked to have a few more players that played well. Familiar faces Andjelic, Jaganjac and Pesevski scored 5 each to lead the Macedonians, but no one else really stood out offensively. Porte and Causse scored 6 for Montpellier en route to their seventh win of the season. They are the only team in the Champions League that recorded 7 wins in 7 matches, proving once again the role of the favorite in Group D.