Kiel’s defense too strong for Hamburg

Kiel’s defense too strong for Hamburg

It all started so well for Hamburg in Kiel on Sunday, but after 60 minutes the result was the usual one. The THW won by a final score of 29:23 (13:11) against the HSV, which hasn’t won a league game at Sparkassen-Arena since 2007. The start suggested a different outcome this time as the guests led 4:2 after six minutes with two very nice goals from Danish winger Casper Mortensen.

But step by step the hosts used their strong defense and physical strength, which proved to be one key element of the game. Hamburg tried to score on fast-breaks and by moving the ball up front as fast as possible after conceding goals, but the team of Michael Biegler wasn’t precise enough. Goalkeeper Johannes Bitter had a solid game in net, but during the early stages he only touched various shots by Kiel, but couldn’t save them.

Kiel caught a break every now and then, but in the first half the German champion was too slow to take real profit of the HSV mistakes. And although the guests from the Elbe started well, they had lost defensive stalwart Piotr Grabarczyk in the first minute as he was sent off after hitting Marko Vujin in the face. Without the Polish international Hamburg’s defense lacked the power and size to cope with the strong back-court of the zebras for the whole 60 minutes.

The physical difference showed especially in the second half, once Niklas Landin took away more and more free chances of Hamburg and the 2013 Champions League winner often lost the moment to score on transition. Forced to play more and more in the usual set-up offense, the back-court of the HSV was just too small for the likes of Vujin, Rene Toft Hansen and Christian Dissinger. Especially Dissinger had a very good performance, including five goals.

Kiel had secured the victory with around ten minutes to go, led by three seven-goal scorers (Vujin, Domagoj Duvnjak, Niklas Ekberg). Hamburg tried its very best, but a short bench and too many mistakes made a comeback impossible. It remains to be seen of a similar performance will be enough for Kiel to win in Wetzlar on Wednesday, while Hamburg, led by five goals of both Hans Lindberg and Mortensen, will be heavily favored against Balingen next Sunday.

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