Some might call it unwatchable, others might call it just a hard-fought battle. For sure it was quite entertaining, when the Bergischer HC and newly-promoted TVB 1898 Stuttgart played to a 21:21 (13:12) tie in Solingen in Saturday evening in a must-win situation for the hosts. But Michael Spatz was able to equalize from the penalty line and steal a point for the Swabians.
Both teams started with a lot of mistake and especially the Bergischen Löwen made a very nervous impression in desperate need for a win. The guests took an early lead and were up by one (5:4) after eight minutes, when the team of coach Sebastian Hinze was finally able to turn the score around, led by goalkeeper Björgvin Gustavsson, who had a tremendous game.
The lead changed various times during the remainder of the first half and you could feel a very anxious atmosphere in the crowded Klingenhalle. The quality of the match was equal to the teams positions in the standings. While the TVB wasn’t able to create a lot of scoring chances, the BHC didn’t exactly shine as well.
Games between the two sides are usually high-scoring affairs, in 2009 the guests won 43:35, until today the most goals the Bergischer HC has ever conceded in a home game. But yesterday both teams didn’t even come close to a result like that because of a lot of turnovers, bad shot selection and playmakers who lacked speed and creativity.
The Bergischer HC looked like the winner when Alexander Oelze made it 21:18 with a little less than three minutes to go. The guests, however, didn’t really care about the score and Simon Baumgarten cut the deficit to two, later on Kasper Kisum made it 20:21. The final minute was an emotional rollercoaster for both sides.
First, Christian Hoße was fouled in a very good scoring position, which resulted in a two-minute suspension for Djibril M’Bengue and a penalty shot for the hosts. But Alexander Oelze’s miserable try was saved by Turkish keeper Yunus Özmusul. Oelze had missed a crucial shot one possession earlier, but seemed convinced to convert the golden opportunity.
Stuttgart got the ball and a final chance to tie the score. Michael Schweikardt, not known to be a very good far-distance shooter, was fouled by Ace Jonovski with four seconds left and was sent-off directly. The fouls was almost as hard as it was stupid. With the new rules applied this season, the guests were awarded a penalty shot.
Spatz, a Bundesliga veteran already in his 11th season in the first league, didn’t make any prisoners and his teammates mobbed him in celebration of a very important point, while the BHC players walked off the court with their heads down. The sky-blues now hope to upset Gummersbach in its own building next week, while Stuttgart will host Kiel on Tuesday.