Expected German-Swiss duel in the quarter-finals
A neighbour’s duel between the current Swiss champions and the current leader of the German Bundesliga table will highlight the quarter-finals of the European League on 11 and 18 April. As expected, after the results of the first leg, Kadetten Schaffhausen and Füchse Berlin will lock horns for a spot in the EHF finals in Flensburg on 27/28 May.
Like last week, both sides took wins - Kadetten had full control at Swedish side Ystad (27:25), while Berlin extended their streak to 12 European League victories in a row after a 38:32 win against Skjern.
Füchse were part of the first European League final tournament in 2021 in Mannheim, where they lost the final against SC Magdeburg. Kadetten have clinched a berth for the quarter-finals for the second straight time. In 2022, they played against another Swedish team, Sävehof.
And, like in 2021, three German teams are part of the quarter-finals: Füchse Berlin, Frisch Auf Göppingen and SG Flensburg-Handewitt.
LAST 16, SECOND LEG
Füchse Berlin (GER) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN) 38:32 (21:18)
Füchse Berlin win 66:55 on aggregate
In the first half, Emil Bergholt was on fire for Skjern, scoring eight of his in a total of 11 goals. Funny enough, three of the five best scorers for Berlin before the break were also Danes: Lasse Andersson (5), Jakob Holm (3) and Mathias Gidsel (2). In contrast to the first leg, the first half was more equal, with Füchse's biggest lead being four goals right before the halftime buzzer at 21:17. Thanks to Bergholt, Skjern almost bridged the gap at 21:22 - but like last week, the Foxes accelerated to pull ahead to 27:22. With the outcome decided, the remaining 22 minutes were pure joy for the fans with goals, goals and goals on both sides. Berlin's top scorer - like in the first leg - was Robert Weber. After nine goals last week he scored eight times tonight.
For the fourth time in now 12 European League matches, Berlin scored 38 or more goals - but, for the first time on home ground after their 43:24 win at Bitola, 40:32 at Irun and 38:27 at Düsseldorf against Motor.
Ystads IF HF (SWE) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) 25:27 (9:14)
Kadetten Schaffhausen win 65:57 on aggregate
Kadetten only needed 30 minutes to erase any last doubts in Sweden. After a clear 38:32 win in the first leg at home, the Swiss champions pulled ahead to a 14:9 lead and late extended the overall margin to 11 goals. Simply, too much for Ystad to keep the flame of hope burning. Who else but Icelandic wing Odinn Thor Rikhardsson could have been the top scorer for this match. After his 14 goals last week, he netted eight times and now has 89 strikes in only 11 matches, an average of eight goals per match. Another parallel to last week: again Kadetten’s Croat, Kristian Pilipovic won the goalkeepers' duel with 11 saves against Erik Hvenfelt (Ystad/8). After the five-goal deficit at the break, the hosts did not give up, and managed to reduce the gap - even if Kadetten’s victory and the overall result was never in danger.
It felt like we never really “got in to the match” and, therefore, didn’t give ourselves a proper chance. For me personally it has been educating to play against some of the best players in Europe. Now we need to focus on the national Handbolllsliga playoffs that start next week.