The MT was unable to repeat last year's nail-biter in Flensburg. On the fifth matchday for the DKB Handball Bundesliga, the team from North Hesse nevertheless acquitted itself very well with a 25-29 defeat on the road against the undefeated and untied elite squad. After trailing 11-16 at the half, the squad was even the better team over the second half. In the end, however, too many missed opportunities and technical errors lead to the narrow final score. Playing in front of 5,687 spectators in a not-quite-filled Flens-Arena, the top scorers for both teams play on the wings. Anders Eggert of SG Flensburg/Handewitt hit for 9/4, matched by the MT Melsungen's Johannes Sellin (9/4, Käsler photo).
The match started well for the MT with goal-getter Momir Rnic throwing home for a 0-1 lead, but the next ten minutes belonged fully and truly to the hosts. Flensburg first equalised thanks to right wing Svan, followed by a foul and suspension on Felix Danner. The seven metre throw that followed was converted by Eggert for the first SG lead.
By the time six-and-a-half minutes had elapsed, Glandorf had thrown for a second goal and Danner had been thwarted by Andersson despite a lovely feed from Rnic. Michael Roth called for time. After the breather Sellin scored to make it 6-2. Vuckovic, who had taken the playmaker role due to the absence of the injured Fahlgren, looked prime to bring things to 6-3. Andersson had other ideas. In the backcourt, the MT lined up in a 5:1 defence in an effort to disrupt the Flensburger attack. The approach was less than completely successful. For one, Glandorf was almost unstoppable moving forward from his right back position; beyond that, any MT mistake on offence was immediately punished by counter-attack goals (Eggert, Svan).
On roughly 18 minutes the match stood at 10-5, at which point the MT managed a small run. Timm Schneider kicked things off, followed by a dream pass to Allendorf from Verkic after the keeper made a save. The right wing converted for 10-7. Rnic soon cleverly earned a penalty throw which Sellin sent home to trim the deficit to just two goals (10-8, 21st minute).
That was as close as the MT would get, with the north German hosts soon reasserting their own playing style. Even the insertion of star keeper Sjöstrand for Verkic could do little to prevent it. Playing for the first time in almost two months after a knee injury, the Swede couldn't stop a penalty throw by Eggert, and nor over the waning moments of the first half could he stop throws from Svan and Glandorf. The teams retreated to the dressing rooms with the score at 16-11.
While the Flensburger side was clearly the better one on this night, the North Hesse players refused to go down quietly. In the run of play they sliced the host's advantage to 19-15 and 21-17 and seemed poised to tighten things up even further. Michael Müller made a fine dodge to break through the defence, but Anders Eggert recovered to prevent the shot from hurtling home. The MT also tripped itself up at times. Poor pass from Danner - counter-attack goal by Toft Hansen; Sellin lobs off the crossbar from seven metres - counter-attack goal by Jakobsson, inserted in place of Glandorf; Allendorf rockets a seven metre throw off the post – a sad log of the 44th through 47th minutes.
The run of poor luck was broken by the MT captain (25-19) and Jeffrey Boomhouwer with a frisky turnaround shot to set the match at 25-20. Now it was time for Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes to call for time. Michael Roth had moments earlier sent Johannes Golla to the front of the 5:1 defensive formation, with Sellin headed to right wing.
The MT played hard, made fewer errors and converted almost all of the opportunities they could work up for the remained of the match. The battle for the last 10 minutes were deservedly won by the gents in red-and-white, even if the war went to the hosts. The 25-29 was a respectable results, with SG Flensburg/Handewitt once again showing that their ambitions of a title are more than realistic. On the other side, the MT suffered from a bit of poor luck, but at times also showed the strength of play that promises better results ahead for October.
Michael Roth: We didn't get off to a good start. A number of opportunities were left on the court, with free balls putting us behind quick. Exactly what we hoped to avoid came true, namely letting Mattias Andersson get hot. From the beginning then we had little chance to build up our offence, which had recurring consequences later in the match. With things at 10-8 toward the end of the first half, we had our chances to turn things around, but made too many fundamental mistakes. Several of our stars didn't shine today. But the team spirit was good, and we actually were the better side in the second half. We'll now have two easy practices before the weekend and then a little regeneration, which will hopefully give Patrik Fahlgren and Felix Danner and Michael Müller, who were hurt today, time to heal. On Moday we'll get back to what is certain to be a highly taxing October.
SG Flensburg-Handewitt – MT Melsungen 29-25 (16-11)
SG Flensburg-Handewitt: Andersson (37 %), Moeller (0 %) – Karlsson, Eggert (9/4), Glandorf (7), Mogensen (2), Svan (6), Djordjic, Jakobsson (3), Heinl, Zachariassen, Toft Hansen (1), Mahé, Horvat (1).
MT Melsungen: Sjöstrand (9 %), Verkic (26 %) – Maric (3), Sellin (9/4), Danner, P. Müller, Boomhouwer (2), Rnic (5/2), Schneider (1), Allendorf (1), Vuckovic (2), M. Müller (2), Haenen.
Referees: Lars Geipel (Leipzig) / Marcus Helbig (Landsberg)
Suspensions: 10 – 6 minutes (2x Mogensen, Svan, Zachariassen, Mahé – Danner, Schneider, M. Müller)
Seven metre: 5/4 – 8/6 (Eggert blocked by Verkic, 51st min. – Sellin hits crossbar, 46th; Allendorf hits post, 47th)
Attendance: 5,687, Flens-Arena, Flensburg
Sa., 1/10/16, 7 pm: MT - Frisch Auf Göppingen, Rothenbach-Halle, Messe Kassel.