The handball players of the Füchse Berlin have reached the Final Four in the European League with a tour de force: The Berliners won the second leg of the quarter-finals in front of 7911 spectators in the Max-Schmeling-Halle against the Swiss champions Kadetten Schaffhausen with 30:24 (17:15) . That was enough to progress, since the first leg was lost only 33:37 a week ago. The best Berlin throwers were the outstanding Mathias Gidsel with ten and Jacob Holm with four goals.
After recovering from an ankle injury, Gidsel was back on the team coached by Jaron Siewert. Veteran Hans Lindberg, 41, was also back in the squad after a break of several weeks. The Berliners initially ran behind a deficit. The Swiss came again and again across the circle to successful conclusions. The game was very hectic. Also because the Romanian referee duo was quickly overwhelmed and did not show a clear line.
As the season progressed, Schaffhausen also failed more often. After almost 19 minutes, Captain Paul Drux gave his team the lead for the first time (10:9). But the hosts also missed a few chances and it remained even. They took a two-goal lead just before the break.
But after a 0:3 run at the beginning of the second half, the lead was promptly gone. Then the foxes woke up. Gidsel in particular was convincing in attack, after a good 46 minutes the deficit was made up (24:20), in the 55th minute the Foxes were ahead (28:23). But Schaffhausen stayed on and in the 56th minute Füchse keeper Dejan Milosavljev saw the red card. He collided with his opponent Zoran Markovic and injured his head so badly that the man from Schaffhausen passed out and had to be taken to the hospital. Milosavljev also injured his foot during the action.
The game was only decided eight seconds before the end when Tim Freihöfer scored to make it 30:24 and, cheered on by colleagues and fans, celebrated entry into the semi-finals.
“It was up and down. I think we played a good ball in attack in the first half. However, the defense wasn’t very effective here, so we got a lot of shots from outside the circle,” said Füchse coach Siewert after the game. “The start of the second half was anything but what we had planned. But we always believed in it and we only conceded nine goals in the second half. At some point we got a three to four goal lead and didn’t let it take us anymore.”
The outstanding Dane Gidsel was also happy afterwards: “It’s good to be back. It was a really difficult game for us today because of the result in the first leg. We knew cadets saw their chance. We showed a different face today,” said the half-right. “I’m very proud of our team, how we made it into the Final Four today and still have two more title chances.”
In addition to the foxes, Frisch Auf Göppingen is also represented in the final tournament: After 32:23 at home, coach Markus Baur’s team won their quarter-final second leg at Croatian top club RK Nexe Nasice on Tuesday evening with 31:27 (13:12).
The semifinals and finals will be played in Flensburg on May 27th and 28th. However, without the home team. The SG handball players had to suffer the next bitter defeat. Three days after the semifinals in the national cup competition, the North Germans also lost the second leg of the quarterfinals in the European League against the Spanish representative Fraikin Granollers with 27:35 (12:16) and were eliminated from the first leg despite the 31:30 victory . After the game, in which Flensburg had no real chance, coach Maik Machulla spoke of an “incredibly poor performance”, “huge disappointment” and an “incredible emptiness”.