Cologne (dpa) - The dream of THW Kiel of the third triumph in the Champions League lives on after a handball thriller with a happy ending.
The German record champions prevailed on Monday in the semi-finals of the Final4 tournament of the 2019/20 season, which was delayed due to the corona crisis, against Hungary's top team Telekom Veszprem with 36:35 (29:29, 18:13) after extra time and now scores in the fight for Europe's handball crown on FC Barcelona.
In front of empty stands in the Lanxess Arena, which actually holds 20,000 spectators, Hendrik Pekeler was Kiel's best thrower with eight goals, who in 2010 and 2012 won the valuable trophy twice under today's national coach Alfred Gislason.
Like THW, Barcelona can also win the premier class for the third time after 2011 and 2015.
The Spanish series champions decided the first semifinal against Paris Saint-Germain surprisingly clearly with 37:32 (18:14).
A few weeks after the 33:41 bankruptcy against the Hungarians in the group stage of the current Champions League season, the Kielers, who had to do without the injured Nikola Bilyk and Magnus Landin and Pavel Horak after corona illness, were wide awake in the first half .
In the back, Hendrik Pekeler and Patrick Wiencek closed the middle of the defense in the usual manner, behind Denmark's world champion goalkeeper Niklas Landin was a reliable support.
Although not everything went smoothly in the attack, THW was still ahead with four goals for the first time at 10: 6 (14th).
The good start gave the Kielers additional security, especially since superstar Sander Sagosen now also ignited the attack.
The Norwegian always put his teammates in the limelight and was successful three times until the break.
So the lead at 17:10 (26th) even increased to seven hits.
Although the Hungarians were able to shorten a bit, the THW took a comfortable five-goal cushion into the cabin at halftime.
After the change, however, Veszprem turned up.
The Kielers now lacked access on the defensive and penetration power in the attack.
The lead melted away more and more and was used up in the middle of the second half at 24:24.
Shortly afterwards, the Hungarians took the lead for the first time and expanded this to four goals.
However, Kiel fought his way back and managed to equalize six minutes before the end of the day.
In the hot final phase, no team managed to make the decision, so it went into overtime.
There the North Germans had the better end for themselves.
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