The SG Flensburg-Handewitt seems unstoppable these days, something Frisch Auf Göppingen had to find out in a 23:28 (15:13) home loss on Sunday. The German cup champion used a 13:5 run in the second half to take the two points prior to the key matchup on Wednesday against the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. While struggling a little before the break the team of Ljubomir Vranjes dominated later on.
In the first half both teams exchanged the lead several times. Göppingen tried to surprise the guests using two playmakers to start the game, as Tim Kneule filled out the right-back position. Flensburg did the same, with Kentin Mahe and Rasmus Lauge sharing duties on the left-back and middle-back positions. Both defense lines had trouble to control the opposing offenses.
While Göppingen had chances to punish Flensburg, the team of Magnus Andersson didn’t take enough profit of the SG’s mistakes, as the guests were more efficient. The Swedish coach then took a timeout with his side being down by one (9:10) and his defense worked much better afterwards. Three straight goals put Flensburg under pressure, however the North Germans stayed cool.
Vranjes took off Kresimir Kozina, but even with Henrik Toft Hansen replacing the recently acquired Croatian, the defense looked a bit shaky, resulting in 15 first-half goals for Göppingen. After the break Frisch Auf started strong, leading by three (18:15) after a couple of minutes with goals by Kneule and Zarko Sesum.
Some saves by Matthias Andersson later, the guests equalized thanks to Holger Glandorf, who now took over for the 2014 Champions League winner. Once the score was tied after two thirds of the game Flensburg never looked back again and cruised to what might look like an easy win. It included another great outing by Lauge, who scored five times.
Flensburg has won all league games dating back to September, after losing back-to-back matches with Melsungen and Wetzlar and after drawing against Berlin. The team look quite ready to host the league-leading Rhein-Neckar Löwen in three days. Göppingen will travel to Lemgo next Sunday. Sesum led Göppingen with five goals, while Holger Glandorf scored a team-high six for Flensburg.