MT falls 20-23 in Leipzig

Unpleasant surprise for MT Melsungen in Saxony: instead of continuing the upward trend seen against Göppingen, Roth's team fell bitterly (20-23) to the team currently on tenth place in the table, SC DHfK Leipzig. After seemingly sleepwalking through the entire first half and falling behind 10-15, the lads in red-and-white played better in the second half on both ends of the court, especially keeper Johan Sjöstrand. Yet even a 4-0 run after intermission wasn't enough to turn the match around. Top scorer in Arena Leipzig (3,582 spectators, slightly short of a sell out) were Johannes Sellin (8/6) for the MT and Leipzig's Niclas Pieczkowski (6). The loss sends the MT sliding back to 16th place.

Photo (Alibek Käsler): Michael Müller on the way to one of his four goals.

The MT was unable to get anything going in the first half. Beyond tying things up after trailing 0-1 on a throw by Johannes Sellin, the guests were otherwise dominated by the feisty hosts, who raced to a 4-1 advantage. The goals came courtesy of pivot Benjamin Meschke and left wing Lukas Binder. During that run, Michael Allendorf was thwarted from the seven metre line by Milos Putera and Momir Rnic missed the Leipzig net wide.

With his team trailing 3-7 after a quarter-hour, coach Michael Roth opted for his first time-out. The breather did little for his squad. The hosts continued playing a lively style, while the guests struggled to put anything together. Passes failed to reach their recipients, an outstandingly in-form Putera kept intercepting balls and the defence struggled to make stops. Bit by bit, Prokop's team scratched out a 15-10 padding going into intermission. Each team's day to that point could be summed up by the final goal before the half. Nenad Vuckovic scored to trim the deficit to 14-10, with just seconds to the half-time whistle. The SC had other ideas, with a quick and perfect mid-range outlet pass and a ball fired from 15 metres by Niclas Pieczkowski right into the upper corner of the MT net for 15-10.

While the first goal after the trip to the dressing rooms fell to the hosts (once again Pieczkowski), it was soon clear that a different MT had taken the court. The defence stiffened, the centre block became impenetrable and the action up front showed more concentration on the way to the goal. The reward for that effort: a 4-0 run (Vuckovic, Boomhouwer, Sellin, M. Müller) that brought the MT back to within 16-14 on 45 minutes. And that wasn't all. The MT experienced a bit of a scare when left wing Jeffrey Bommhouwer was carried from the field on a stretcher.

While the lads in the green-and-white kits had looked so unruffled in the first half, the nerves began to show five minutes later and the match appeared ready to turn. Rojewski hit for 19-17 but MT scored a brace from the hand of captain Michael Müller, knotting things up at 19-19. Meschke fired home for 20-19 but the MT was undaunted and Fahlgren equalised. With 3 minutes left in the match, the finish was on the razor's edge.

The MT's luck ran out at this point, right when it needed it most. Pieczkowski put one into the net for 21-20 and then Putera showed fantastic reflexes to deny Michael Müller. Yet even after Binder took the ball down the left wing and put it past Sjöstrand, who had to that point played an excellent half, the evening wasn't quite put to bed. Shortly after spinning the scoreboard, Binder was sent off for a two minute suspension. With a man advantage for the MT in the last two minutes, their chances seemed strong. Yet neither of their attacks was able to convert. Meschke by contrast hurled home his fifth points from the pivot, sealing a 20-23 loss for the MT in Leipzig.

Michael Roth on the match:
Making up the kind of deficit that we fell into in the first half is a tough task. We played very carelessly and couldn't find our line on either offence or defence. You could see it in the body language. During the half there really was a fire-and-brimstone speech. We managed to chance the trajectory of the match in the second half, but it ultimately wasn't enough. Too many players are just a bit off right now. What is really unusual is that players like Momir Rnic, Philipp Müller, Timm Schneider and Michael Allendorf couldn't throw for a single goal tonight. That's certainly nothing you'd do intentionally, but there's just not the sense of security. The only one who played up to form was Johan Sjöstrand in goal. And that after being out injured for an extended period. That speaks volumes. After the win against Göppingen, most probably thought everything would just keep going that way. But at this point, with a loss against Leipzig under our belts, every single one of us needs to wake up and understand that you can't climb out of this kind of hole without maximum effort. We saw very clearly today that expectation and reality can be very much out of step. All that's left to us now is a dogfight, because there's no points awarded in this league for pretty losses. As they say: When you're at the bottom, you'd better be ready to get dirty.


SC DHfK Leipzig: Putera (13 saves), Vortmann (1 S) – Semper, Steinert 3, Rojewski 3/1, Jurdzs, Oehlrich, Binder 5, Janke, Pieczkowski 6, Roscheck, Meschke 5, Becvar 1, Milosevic.

MT Melsungen: Sjöstrand (11 saves), Verkic (0 S) – Maric, Sellin 8/6, Fahlgren 1, Danner, P. Müller, Boomhouwer 1, Rnic, Schneider, Allendorf, Vuckovic 5, Jaanimaa 1, M. Müller 4.

Referees: Nils Blümel / Jörg Loppaschewski (Berlin)

Suspension: 4 – 4 minutes (2x Meschke – Maric, M. Müller); Disqualification Schneider (46th min).
Penalty throws: 2/1 – 8/6 (Rojewski blocked by Sjöstrand, 34th min – Allendorf blocked by Putera, 8th min.; Sellin blocked by Vortmann, 50th Min.)

Attendance: 3,582, Arena Leipzig

Highlights: 1-0 (3), 3-1 (5), 4-2 (9), 6-2 (13), 8-4 (16), 10-4 (20), 11-6 (23), 13-6 (25), 13-8 (28), 15-10 (HZ), 16-10 (31), 16-11 (35), 16-14 (40), 18-17 (50), 19-19 (55), 21-20 (57), 22-20 (59), 23-20 (60), 23-20 (EN)

Das nächste Spiel:
Sonntag, 16/10/16, 5:15 pm, MT Melsungen - TVB Stuttgart, Rothenbach Hall, Messe Kassel

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