They celebrated. All together, in a circle on the dance floor. Experienced THW Kiel players as well as younger ones. And in the midst of all this, Hendrik Pekeler, who had strongly criticized his own team after 18:27 against Aalborg, spoke of “children instead of men on the offensive” and accused some of his teammates of not having enough desire to be successful. On Sunday, all THW players were eager to win the two points. And they did just that after a strong performance in round 13. With 16:10 points, Kiel maintained his slim chance of defending his title.
“It was a fantastic performance from my team.”
THW Coach Filip Jicha
“Today we saw what the team and some players are capable of. I’m really happy for the boys that they were able to reward themselves today,” THW coach Filip Jicha told NDR. The 41-year-old Czech also responded to Pekeler’s criticism after the game. “What ‘Peke’ said certainly doesn’t belong to the public. But the content: it’s what we want. We don’t live in harmony and balance, we live in a performance family. We are expected to perform every three days and not just every three games.”
He made comparisons with the past. “At that time, if you suffered a defeat, two or three in a row, it was not pleasant to come to training. There were also some mass fights, that’s part of it. There is a common objective: to win, to perform well and to perform well. , and we didn’t do that.”
“It’s a mind game with each other.”
THW right winger Niclas Ekberg said: “We’re relieved. This is exactly how we wanted it to be. It’s a mind game with each other. You just have to pull yourself together and look each other in the eye and say: ‘We’ If I’m doing this today, it’s a thousand times better than the last game. And it was like that today.”
“Zebras” immediately with a lot of passion
It was clear from the start that the “Zebras” were eager for compensation. The players fought for the ball with so much passion in the first few minutes, as if the game was already on time. Bottom line: Kiel wanted to get back on track immediately after the defeat against Aalborg. And that worked. After a 2-0 (4th) it was 6:6 after twelve minutes – and at that moment the North Germans had scored as many goals as they had against the Danish champions around former THW goalkeeper Niklas Landin in the entire first time.
While the Berliners had clear advantages in the goalkeeping position with the strong Serbian Dejan Milosavljev compared to Tomas Mrkva, the Czech entered the game better between the hosts’ posts after a quarter of an hour. Furthermore, Kiel’s defense managed not to let Füchse’s defensive player Matthias Gidsel stand out.
Duvnjak leads the THW game
Led by veteran Domagoj Duvnjak, the North Germans pulled away from the capital team with a 5-1 run to make it 13-9 (28). At half-time it was 2.10pm – THW fans were rightly thrilled with their team’s performance. Cyclist Patrick Wiencek was also very pleased. “You can see that today we showed a different face. We are working hard in defense and we have good solutions in attack. We have to continue in the same way,” he said in the halftime interview with NDR.
Kiel remained “on fire” even after the restart – also thanks to Mrkva. When the score was 16:13, he saved a seven-meter shot from the now 42-year-old former HSV professional Hans Lindberg (34th). But Berlin came closest – also because Pekeler missed a free throw against Milosavljev (40th). Shortly afterwards it was only 8:19 pm. Jicha brought Samir Bellahcene to Mrkva. And after a quick counterattack from Matthes Langhoff’s guests, the Frenchman immediately saved his shot.
THW Fans Celebrate Captain Duvnjak
Mrkva also made another save from seven meters in the duel with Lindberg (48th). And when Magnus Landin scored 25:22 (53rd) and shortly after Bellahcene saved another shot, it looked like Kiel’s team would be able to make amends. A little later the lead was five goals (27:22, 55).
“It radiates THW DNA.”
Filip Jicha about Domagoj Duvnjak
Success was no longer in danger. After the final siren the celebration began. Chants of “Dule” echoed around the arena in honor of captain Duvnjak, who was THW’s most successful player with nine goals. There was also praise from coach Jicha for the 35-year-old: “He is a man we really need. Not only on the pitch, but also off it. He exudes THW’s DNA.”