Kiel power to semi-final win over Champions League title holders

29 Aug. 2019

Kiel power to semi-final win over Champions League title holders

THW Kiel secured the first place in the 2019 IHF Men’s Super Globe final with a clear victory over Vardar, which took the German team to their third trophy match in the competition. 

Kiel’s win also sent a strong message to other teams in the upcoming Champions League season. After missing the top European competition for the first time since 2003/04 last year, the Super Globe is the first chance for the current EHF Cup winners to make a statement – and a victory over the current Champions League title holders surely served as proof they are ready to make their mark in 2019/20. 

Both teams now await their opponents for the final day of competition on Saturday August 31, when Vardar will play for their second Super Globe bronze medal.

Vardar (MKD) vs THW Kiel (GER) 30:34 (17:19)

After a tight first half, it was Kiel’s stronger defence supported by a great game from goalkeeper Niklas Landin that won them the match. The final score line of four goals was not reflective of Kiel’s dominance in the second period, as the German team created an advantage as clear as 10 goals with nine minutes remaining, 22:32. 

The match opened at a fast pace that saw six goals scored in the first four minutes before the goalkeepers began to stop the shots coming their way. While Vardar started with Khalifa Ghedbane between the posts, Kiel began with newcomer Dario Quenstedt. Although he had a strong game, with six saves in the first 20 minutes, Quenstedt was replaced by Landin as Vardar pulled in front by two goals off a fast break from Ivan Cupic, 12:10. 

Around the end of the first quarter, Kiel coach Filip Jicha changed his line-up on court almost completely, and the entries of captain Domagoj Duvnjak and Nikola Bilyk were especially important. It was the two backs who drew the match level again, as they scored consecutive fast breaks for the score of 14:14 in the 23rd minute. Bilyk (nine goals at 100% overall) went on to tally six goals from six attempts in the 15 minutes he was on court before the break, helping Kiel take the lead. 

Landin saved two shots off four faced in his few minutes in the first period, before a final tally of 11 at 42%. Landin’s performance included two penalty saves, and the Danish world and Olympic champion made several crucial stops off open chances for Vardar in the second period. Vardar changed between 6-0 and 5-1 defence, but as the match progressed, it was clear Kiel were on their way to the final. 

The German team held a 29:20 lead as the last quarter began, and when they retained a commanding advantage at 33:25 in the 55th there was no doubt Kiel would qualify for their third Super Globe final in three participations – the last of which was in 2012. 

Player of the match: Niklas Landin, THW Kiel