Aalborg book play-off spot in style
A draw would have been enough, but Aalborg Handbold eagerly wanted to gift their fans with a victory in their last group match on home ground. After a close start the hosts pulled away easily, leaving the already eliminated Norwegian champions behind.
In the race for fifth place in group B, Aalborg (11 points) have passed Pick Szeged (10), who play later tonight at Barça. In the final round, the Danish side travel to the already eliminated team of Celje, while Szeged host the third-ranked team, Nantes.
Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs. Elverum Handball (NOR) 31:24 (17:12)
- it was Aalborg’s sixth victory in six matches versus Elverum, and the second this season having won the first clash in Elverum, 33:25
- after four straight home defeats before the winter break, Aalborg took their second straight win on home ground in February, having also beaten Szeged, 33:27
- Elverum kept it close and trailed 11:9 with nine minutes left till the break, but then Aalborg took the upper hand with a 6:1 run for a 17:10 lead - which allowed coach Stefan Madsen to use a huge rotation with many young guns
- the biggest gap after the break was eight goals (21:13); the hosts then started to save strength for their upcoming tasks; Elverum managed to reduce the lead to 23:27, before Aalborg speeded up again
- best scorers for the hosts were Felix Claar (6), Lukas Sandell and Aron Palmarsson (each with 5), while Daniel Blomgren netted six times for Elverum
Aalborg prove they can win with different tactics
Usually, Aalborg are famous for their high-speed counter-attack match play and their fast wings. But, on Wednesday, the back court axis was their strongest weapon, even with their regular top scorer, Mikkel Hansen still unavailable. The Swedish-Icelandic trio of Felix Claar, Lukas Sandell and Aron Palmarsson was on duty in terms of goals for the hosts against Aalborg. Last week’s best scorers - the Norwegian wings Kristian Bjørnsen and Sebastian Barthold - this time did not play much against their fellow countrymen.
We had very big problems with our defence in the beginning and did not manage to stop Grøndahl, who brought a lot of speed into the game. But, we managed to stay close enough and we created a lot of chances and controlled the game most of the second half.
I think we created some good chances in the beginning, but then we had some bad shots from long distance and a good goalkeeper job decided the game in the end.