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03.02.2019, 11:40
Kiel target home finals on EHF Cup return
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MEN'S EHF CUP GROUP PHASE COUNTDOWN #12: After 14 consecutive years in the top flight, the Zebras take on the EHF Cup, with a home final tournament the final destination
 

Kiel target home finals on EHF Cup return

On 24 April 2004, 10,000 fans went crazy as THW Kiel secured a clear 27:19 victory in the second leg of the final against BM Altea from Spain to raise the EHF Cup trophy for the third time.

Kiel would not play another EHF Cup match for 14 years, during which the German record champions were regulars in the EHF Champions League and picked up three titles in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

Now the ‘Zebras’ are back in the  EHF Cup and are considered to be favourites by most to go all the way.

Kiel will host the EHF Cup Finals on 17/18 May and took the first step towards their home event with a Round 3 win over Norwegian side Drammen.

Reaching and winning the final tournament would be a fitting farewell to coach Alfred Gislason, who will leave his role after eleven years and will be succeeded by current assistant coach Filip Jicha.

New and interesting opposition

“From the first moment on, it was our goal to make it to the EHF Cup Finals. The fact that the EHF awarded us the event is a great additional motivation,” says Gislason.

He hopes for a huge support from the stands: “We expect at least 7,000 fans in our three home matches in the group phase, and 500 are supposed to accompany us to the away match in Odense, Denmark.”

This game will be something very special for the newly crowned world champion brothers Niklas and Magnus Landin, as Niklas is a former GOG player. Their other group opponents are Granollers and Azoty-Pulawy.

“We face interesting opponents, which we mostly have never faced before, in an exciting group,” says Gislason. As he spent his early playing days in Spain and faced Granollers many times, he is looking forward to this first duel between the clubs: “Granollers have a long and successful tradition and are a big name and we will have an interesting opener against Azoty-Pulawy.”

Twelve of his players were part of the 2019 World Championship, and two returned home injured: Icelandic talent Gisli Kristjansson, who had a shoulder surgery and German Steffen Weinhold, who should be fit for the start of the group phase. Norwegian Harald Reinkind finished with a silver medal, the German quartet Wiencek, Wolff, Pekeler and Weinhold were part of the unlucky fourth ranked side.

THW Kiel

Qualification for the 2018/19 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 3: 70:41 aggregate win against Drammen HK (NOR)

Newcomers:  Magnus Landin (KIF Kolding-Kopenhagen), Gisli Thorgeir Kristjansson (FH Hafnarfjördur), Hendrik Pekeler (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Harald Reinkind (Rhein-Neckar Löwen)

Left the club: Emil Frend Öfors (HSG Wetzlar), Raul Santos (SC DHfK Leipzig), Rene Toft Hansen (Telekom Veszprem), Christian Zeitz (SG Nußloch), Christian Dissinger (HC Vardar)

Coach: Alfred Gislason (since 2008)

Team captain: Domagoj Duvnjak, Patrick Wiencek and Niklas Landin

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Winners (3): 2006/07, 2009/10, 2011/12
Finalists (4): 1999/2000, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2013/14
Semi-finals (5): 1996/97, 2000/01, 2012/13, 2014/15, 2015/16
Quarter-finals (7): 1998/99, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2005/2006, 2010/2011, 2016/17, 2017/18
Group Phase (2): 1994/95, 1995/96

Other EC records:
EHF Cup: Winners (3): 1997/98, 2001/02, 2003/04

German league: 20 titles (1957, 1962, 1963, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

German cup: 10 titles (1998, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017)

 

 


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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