Thanks to an outstanding performance by Croatian Domagoj Duvnjak and Danish goalkeeper Niklas Landin, especially in the second half, the THW Kiel was able to travel back home with two points from its game in Berlin. Having already lost three of its five prior away games in the league so far this season, the German record champion won by a final score of 27:24 (10:11).
The hosting Füchse started strong with right-back Fabian Wiede leading the way. He scored eight times overall, including one penalty shot. But he didn’t have enough offensive support from his teammates, as Kiel used a strong defense, supported by Landin, to pull away midway through the last third of the game.
Early on Berlin converted its chances much better, Wiede found a hole in Kiel’s defense numerous times and the Füchse dominated, taking a 7:6 lead after 15 minutes. It was Wiede again and again, scoring twice in a row, and things didn’t look good for Kiel (7:11) late in the first half. But Marko Vujin started to be a key figure of the game as well and his two consecutive goals made sure the THW was still in the game.
In the second half Kiel showed it’s still the superior side and Duvnjak stepped up, making sure that the team could stay in the championship race. Another loss would have probably meant that the North Germans could forget about a fifth league title in a row. Duvnjak used his power and strength, his vision and skill to score goal after goal. He scored six of his eight goals after the break.
Berlin didn’t have any solution to defend Duvnjak, who often blew by the Füchse players in transition. The hosts also didn’t have the power to overcome Kiel’s imposing defense, especially since Landin had various outstanding saves in a row. Although Silvio Heinevetter had some spectacular saves as well, him and his goalkeeping partner Petr Stochl only combined for a 20.6 save percentage.
Only five players scored for the THW at all, Duvnjak, Vujin and Niklas Ekberg eight times each, but the defense was the key factor for Kiel to win the game. Berlin wasn’t able to come back, just like they did in Magdeburg some weeks ago, when they were down by nine.
It was the foxes second league loss in a row, now winless in four, but they should have a much easier time when they face Gummersbach at home in ten days. Kiel will host Hamburg in two weeks after a tough match against Paris-Saint Germain in the Champions League three days before.