In the end, Domagoj Duvnjak was only in the center and directed. With his long arms, the Croatian from THW Kiel intercepted ball after ball, carried it towards the running teammates, immediately followed by the next command, which colleagues should do now. Duvnjak is now 33 years old, but in those moments he performed even better and with more earnings than nine years ago when he was elected world handball player.
Duvnjak’s outstanding performance in the last quarter of an hour finally decided this great game in the Handball Bundesliga. 30:25 (17:15) Kiel beat leaders SC Magdeburg because SCM simply couldn’t find any more answers for Duvnjak. “Hats off to my guys,” Kiel coach Filip Jicha said, still hoarse after the match: “Today we weren’t the favorites, but we wanted to avoid the party here.”
It is only the second defeat of the season for the team from Magdeburg, but in terms of the championship it still looks very good: SCM still comfortably leads the table with 44:4 points. “It’s a luxurious situation that we’ve sorted out for ourselves,” Magdeburg coach Bennett Wiegert said.
Rare image in handball: immediately after four minutes there is a pack formation around Wiencek and Weber
Kiel would probably still be in the middle of the championship if they hadn’t racked up all these annoying defeats: at Nettelstedt, at Wetzlar, plus the draws against Erlangen and Lemgo. He was eight points behind the SCM before the game, an excessively large gap for the record champions. Now there are six, probably still too many to seriously contend for the championship again.
Especially since Magdeburg never gave the impression in this top-flight match that the drop expected by some pundits was yet to come this season. Like so many times, Magdeburg tried to overtake the opponent in the first few minutes, and again it was a hell of a pace that the SCM estimated. But Kiel stood against it. With more than two goals, Magdeburg could not settle; at 19 minutes THW managed to equalize, a ball deflected by Duvnjak – at 10:10.
By halftime, THW even pulled away by two goals, Sander Sagosen, the promising world handball player from Kiel, scoring repeatedly in Magdeburg’s goal. As often as Kiel had hesitated this season, this time they were there: with Sagosen (nine goals in total), with Duvnjak, also with goalkeeper Niklas Landin, who boldly saved decisive balls. “We knew that the THW was angry and that such services can always be requested,” Wiegert said. Perhaps, the coach speculated, this match was “too emotional for us today”.
In the end, the Magdeburg public still sings about the championship.
He was certainly referring to the scene just after four minutes when Patrick Wiencek was on the ground. Usually, there is no pack formation in handball, but now the players of both teams rushed. What happened? Wiencek had broken off a counterattack and made a passing error, actually an everyday action, but Magdeburg’s Philipp Weber hit him hard with both arms right away. Wiencek fell to the ground and couldn’t get up right away because Weber was piling on top of him.
They both fought each other which was fun to watch, Wiencek and Weber are two pretty sensible guys who also know each other very well from the German team. There was a lot of excitement at this summit. Weber was handed a two-minute penalty, quickly apologized, and Wiencek accepted. Everything is fine again for this moment.
In the end, when Kiel was already the winner, tempers heated up again. A Magdeburg fan walked up to Kiel coach Jicha in the narrow corridor, stood in front of him and insulted him, before he was stopped. The peaceful part of the Magdeburg audience saw Kiel’s dominance on Saturday night, but sent a defiant salute in the direction of the field. “Only the SCM will be champion of Germany”, they sang. Nonetheless. yuck