As the DKB Handball-Bundesliga is getting closer and closer to the usual January break nine games were played on Tuesday and Wednesday. Week 19 started three days ago when the TVB 1898 Stuttgart hosted the Füchse Berlin in front of more than 6.000 fans in the Porsche-Arena, but even such a crowd wasn’t able to help the team avoid a 24:32 (11:15) loss.
The same arena hosted another game on the next day with a little less than 6.000 people in attendance as the HBW Balingen-Weilstetten won for the first time since departing with former coach Markus Gaugisch. The 30:27 (18:13) win against the TBV Lemgo, who continues to struggle away from home, moved the team out of the relegation zone.
Fighting against relegation is obviously no option for the THW Kiel and even finishing second is not in the plans of the reigning champion. The zebras showed all their will and skill against a helpless Rhein-Neckar Löwen side which had to do without Uwe Gensheimer and lost Patrick Groetzki to injury late in the first half. Kiel, as we reported earlier, cruised to an impressive 31:20 (12:9) victory.
Meanwhile one hour north the SG Flensburg-Handewitt made sure to remain an outside shot at the title by beating the VfL Gummersbach by a score of 28:25 (13:11). The team of Ljubomir Vranjes had to fight hard against the guests, who stayed close until the end, but Anders Eggert (12/7) scored some key goals in crunch time to make sure of the victory.
In Eisenach the Bergischer HC tried everything possible by bringing back injured starters Viktor Szilagyi and Arnor Gunnarsson ahead of schedule, but the lions weren’t able to hang onto a lead very late in the game and lost 26:28 (13:15) to the hosting ThSV, who not only passed the BHC in the standings, but might force the guests to axe head coach Sebastian Hinze.
After 19 games the TuS N-Lübbecke remains winless, even with new coach Goran Perkovac leading the way against cash-strapped Hamburg, who got a surprise visit by Michael Biegler, who’s currently in Poland to prepare the Polish national team for the EHF EURO 2016. His players responded extremely well and won for a sixth straight time (30:27, 14:11).
The SC Magdeburg is still winless in the league since new head coach Bennet Wiegert took over after a 26:26 (11:12) draw at home against Wetzlar. The HSG gained an important point to stay in contention for a place in Europe and made sure that the hosts won’t join the race for fifth place, while inner-state rival MT Melsungen surprisingly lost at home to Hannover-Burgdorf 25:28 (14:11).
In Göppingen Frisch Auf made no prisoners after a very good first half, while pulling away early in the second against newly-promoted SC DHfK Leipzig on route to a 29:21 (13:9) victory. Leipzig seems to have a lost a bit of the underdog spirit which helped the team enjoy a great first few month in the league, which closes out the year on the weekend with nine more games.