25.05.2012: One German club will reach the final
Preview first semi-final THW Kiel vs. Füchse Berlin
It seems to be an unequal duel, and the roles of David and Goliath seem to be clearly marked – but 60 minutes of the semi-final on Saturday (15:15 hrs local time) will decide whether favourite THW Kiel or underdog Füchse Berlin will play for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 trophy on Sunday.
Kiel had beaten their German opponent three times in this season, but the “hungry Zebras” are aware of the Foxes: “We start at zero,” says top star Filip Jicha. On the other hand Füchse have nothing to lose in Cologne as they already have reached more than expected. “But we are no tourists,” is the opinion of player Sven Sören Christopherssen.
The way to Cologne was completely different: Kiel marched through their group, taking the number one position after a final draw with Kobenhavn. Berlin had to shiver until the final second of their final group match, until the qualification for the Last 16 was secured.
In the first round of the knock-out stage Berlin eliminated HSV Hamburg – with two victories like THW did against Wisla Plock. Whilst Kiel had only little problems in qualifying for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the quarterfinals against RK Zagreb, Füchse needed a miracle to proceed: After the 23:34 defeat at Leon they beat the Spaniards 30:19 on home ground.
Both teams can count on experienced squads with clear advantages from the individual skills for THW with their two former World Handball Players Thierry Omeyer and Filip Jicha and sharp shooters like Momir Ilic, Kim Anderson and Christian Zeitz. On the other hand the team is the star at the Foxes – including two world class players like goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter and Spanish two times EHF Champions League winner Iker Romero.
If Kiel proceed, they would have reached an EHF Champions League final for the sixth time, whilst Füchse Berlin have no experience like this as they are VELUX EHF Champions League debutants.
The only fact to be known before is that one German team will reach the final – besides Kiel only SC Magdeburg and SG Flensburg-Handewitt have come so far before.