First, the Rhein-Neckar Löwen delivered a handball gala, then SC Magdeburg finally followed suit. In the cup final on Sunday (3.40 p.m. / ARD and Sky) there will be a showdown between the German champions and the strong challenger from Mannheim.

The SCM prevailed on Saturday evening at the Final4 in Cologne in the semifinals against TBV Lemgo Lippe with 33:31 (17:13) and can hope for the third triumph after 1996 and 2016 in the seventh final participation. The lions had previously reached the final for the fifth time with an unexpectedly clear 38:31 (19:13) victory against SG Flensburg-Handewitt and impressively underpinned their ambitions for the second cup coup after 2018.

Magdeburg initially struggled against the outsider from Lemgo, who won the trophy in 2020. Only in the final phase of the first half was the tournament favorite, in which Kay Smits stood out with twelve goals and Gisli Kristjansson (9) from Iceland, able to pull away a little. After the change, coach Bennet Wiegert’s team kept control at all times and didn’t let the East Westphalians come close.

In the first semi-final, the Rhein-Neckar Löwen played in great form against Flensburg after four Bundesliga defeats in a row and stopped the winning streak of their northern rivals, who had not lost 21 competitive games in a row. “Incredible, just crazy. The boys were outstanding. We enjoy it now and see what happens tomorrow. We’ll definitely do everything we can,” said the euphoric lion coach Sebastian Hinze.

The best thrower for the winner was national player Juri Knorr with ten goals, and Mads Mensah Larsen also scored ten times for SG. “We played a lot of crap in the last three or four weeks, but we didn’t lose faith. Everyone put their hearts into it today,” said Knorr.

The German champion of 2016 and 2017, who had recently suffered four Bundesliga defeats in a row, had to do without his sick captain and best field goalscorer of the season, Patrick Groetzki. The backcourt players Niclas Kirkelökke and Albin Lagergren alternated on the right wing position for him.

Flensburg didn’t find any means against the Baden team, who presented themselves in much better form compared to the recent series of bankruptcies, and in the end had no chance. “For us as a team and club, it’s an unbelievable disappointment and extremely bitter that we couldn’t win the game,” said SG coach Maik Machulla.

Some SG fans, who insulted the players after the final whistle, caused additional frustration for the 46-year-old. “When individuals accuse my players of not doing everything and that they should show heart and passion for this club, it makes me angry. It’s incredibly disrespectful to my players to stand up after the game and accuse them of not giving their all,” criticized Machulla.