With a convincing victory in the 108th northern derby against SG Flensburg-Handewitt, THW Kiel defended its lead in the Handball Bundesliga and made a clear statement in the fight for the title. The record champions clearly prevailed in front of 10,285 spectators in their home arena on Sunday with 29:19 (13:8) and remain the leader with 43:9 points. The SG is fourth in the table with 39:13 points and is now four points behind the THW and has little chance of winning the championship.
“We are incredibly happy. With performances like this, we don’t have to worry about our competitors,” said THW goalkeeper Niklas Landin, who made 16 saves. And circle runner Hendrik Pekeler stated with satisfaction: “A lot of things went very well today. We made good use of the time to refresh the basics and thus be fully there in the final spurt of the season.”
With the 65th derby victory, Kiel successfully took revenge for the 23:36 in the first half of the season and caused great frustration for the rivals, who recently lost two more title chances in the cup semifinals and in the quarterfinals of the European League. “Three defeats within a few days – that’s brutal and extremely painful,” said SG director Jim Gottfridsson.
Flensburg got off to a good start in front of national coach Alfred Gislason and were not impressed by Kiel’s rapid 3-1 lead. Towards the end of the first half, however, the SG fell back into old patterns, made too many misses and lost the ball.
Kiel mercilessly exploited the dropouts of the northern rival. With a 5:0 run, THW pulled away from 7:7 (20th) to 12:7 (30th). While Flensburg remained without a goal for ten minutes, Nikola Bilyk alone scored three times for the hosts in this phase. The Austrian was the best THW thrower with seven goals. The guests also started the second period with a five-minute goal drought, which decided the game early.