Barça and Aalborg eye crunch rematch before the semi-finals
07 Oct. 2021
The third day of the 2021 IHF Men’s Super Globe will answer one of the most burning questions of this edition, as the two finalists will be known after two crunch semi-finals.
The all-European clash between SC Magdeburg and Aalborg Håndbold will offer one finalist, while the other berth will be awarded to the winner of the match between reigning champions Barça and EC Pinheiros.
The day will be opened by two placement round 5-10 matches, between hosts Al Noor and San Francisco CalHeat on the one hand and Zamalek SC and Sydney Uni on the other.
- Magdeburg will play their third game in as many days, yet they rested key players in the second halves against Sydney Uni and Al Duhail
- The German side have not lost a single game this season, but will face their sternest challenge yet, as Aalborg eye a rematch of the EHF Champions League Men final against Barça
- Barcelona are the most decorated club at the IHF Men’s Super Globe, winning five trophies, and missing the final only once in six editions
- In their two participations in the competition prior to this edition, Pinheiros have never won against European opposition
7 October, 18:15 AST
SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)
Will tired legs play a role in the semi-final between Magdeburg and Aalborg?
The German side will take the court for their third game in as many days in Jeddah and, despite their strong wins against Sydney Uni, 32:20 on Tuesday in the quarter-finals qualifications, and Al Duhail, 35:23 on Wednesday in the quarter-finals, 120 minutes of fast-paced handball could still take their toll. Meanwhile, Aalborg defeated Al-Wehda on Wednesday 38:27 in the quarter-finals.
However, there will be no stone left unturned for the EHF European League Men winners, who will look to beat their best-ever finish at the IHF Men’s Super Globe, the second place in 2002.
Coach Bennet Wiegert has done a great job to distribute the minutes between his players, but the game against Aalborg, a dominant force in European handball who finished the EHF Champions League Men last season in second place, would be the greatest challenge yet this season for the unbeaten Magdeburg.
Aalborg is a well-known team for Magdeburg, especially for the Danish pair of goalkeeper Jannick Green and line player Magnus Saugstrup, who both plied their trade for Aalborg in the past.
While Green had a three-year stint between 2008 and 2011 for Aalborg, Saugstrup spent seven seasons there, making the switch to Magdeburg this summer.
However, Aalborg’s ambitions are huge and they are eyeing to progress to the final, setting up what could likely be a rematch of the EHF Champions League Men final of last June, when Barcelona took the European crown.
The Danish side seemed to be in form in their match against Al-Wehda. Wing Sebastian Barthold stole the show, scoring eight goals in the first half – and the Danish side will also need more of that against Madgdeburg.
Aalborg and Magdeburg last met in the Men’s EHF Cup in the 2015/16 season, with the two teams sharing home wins, 26:25 for the Danish side and 25:19 for Magdeburg.
7 October, 20:30 AST
EC Pinheiros (BRA) vs FC Barcelona (ESP)
Barça’s Brazilian pair of back Haniel Langaro and defender Thiagus Petrus dos Santos will feel a bit at home when they see Pinheiros’ stripes, after kick starting their career at the club who won the South and Central American Men’s Club Handball Championship.
The challenge will be difficult, however, for Pinheiros, as Barça will go into the game as overwhelming favourites, especially after their 36:32 win against Zamalek on Wednesday.
After arriving at Jeddah with only one day before the start of the IHF Men’s Super Globe, Barça had a slow start and did not score in the first 10 minutes of the game, helping Zamalek to take a 5:0 lead.
However, the sheer depth and experience of the Spanish side can be overwhelming against teams who are not used to the rhythm of play, which Pinheiros certainly lack.
Their woes were on display in the quarter-final against Al Noor, where the Brazilian side was leading by six goals with seven minutes left, but could only save a 34:33 win in the dying seconds.
An attacking powerhouse like Barça is likely to fire from all cylinders, like right back Dika Mem or line player Luis Frade, who each scored seven goals in the quarter-final against the Egyptian side.
On the other hand, this will be the best-ever result for Pinheiros at the IHF Men’s Super Globe after finishing fifth two times and could also be the best finish for a South American team since 2002, when Brazilian side Metodista finished third.
PLACEMENT ROUND 5-10
7 October, 13:45 AST
San Francisco CalHeat (USA) vs Al Noor Saudi Club (KSA)
Two rookies aiming for their first-ever win at the IHF Men’s Super Globe – that is the clash that will open the third day of the competition, as both CalHeat and Al Noor look to bounce back.
The American side will have had a day’s rest over their opponents and it could be helpful, especially after the disappointment felt by the Saudi hosts in the game against EC Pinheiros on Wednesday.
In spite of a subpar game, which saw them trailing by six goals with seven minutes to go against the Brazilian team, Al Noor bounced back and had the chance to tie the game in the final minute, only to turn the ball over in their last attack.
However, Al Noor boast a larger experience in their side, with Bahraini back Hussain Al Sayyad and Serbian players Petar Panic and Lazar Petrovic in their roster. Panic, a last-minute addition for the Saudi side, scored eight goals against Pinheiros, being truly unstoppable at times.
Yet, CalHeat will be still motivated by the fact that they could become the first American team to win a game at the IHF Men’s Super Globe, after New York, the team that took part in 2019, lost all three of their games in the competition.
The winner can avoid the last two places in the final standings, but they will still have to play Qatari side Al Duhail in the next two days.
7 October, 16:00 AST
Sydney Uni Handball Club (AUS) vs Zamalek Club (EGY)
For 20 minutes, Zamalek put up a serious fight against Barça on Wednesday, enjoying a 5:0 start against the reigning champions. The Spanish side’s superior depth and experience worked wonders and they went to the semi-finals, but Zamalek, an interesting mix of exuberant youth and experience looked like a strong side.
While the disappointment of the loss could be hardly conceited, Zamalek will look to end their IHF Men’s Super Globe on a high, after they were not able to secure their best finish ever in the competition, which is still the third place in 2010.
They are still without a Super Globe win against European opposition, but will start as favourites against the Australian side, who were handed a 12-goal loss in the quarter-finals qualification on Tuesday by SC Magdeburg.
For a team that cannot rely on its usual line-up, due to the COVID-19 restrictions in Australia, it was a good result for Sydney Uni, who will be aiming to avoid finishing last in the placement round 5-10.
The Australian side will rely once again on right wing Bevan Calvert, who scored nine times and still has the best goal average in the IHF Men’s Super Globe, after playing one game.
However, Zamalek will be primed to take their first win in this edition, as they expect more from Yehia and Seif Elderaa and from veteran Ahmed Elahmar.
In Group B, the two sides will also meet Saudi hosts Al-Wehda in the next two days.