Strong second half brings Magdeburg to the final
SC Magdeburg have made history as the first finalists of the inaugural EHF Finals - the pinnacle event of the European League Men 2020/21. The German side - former Champions League and EHF Cup winners - had a tough nut to crack to beat Orlen Wisla Plock in the first semi-final at Mannheim. Up until the scoreboard read 24:24, the match was fully up for grabs, finally Magdeburg were won 30:29.
SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 30:29 (13:15)
- Plock worked extremely well in their solid-rock defence in the first 20 minutes, causing many problems to Magdeburg’s attack.
- Besides, Zoltan Szita’s four goals and some brilliant assists of Niko Mindegia, Plock went ahead by three goals twice - and the Polish side even missed a chance to extend the gap to four right before the break.
- The goalkeeper change from Jannick Green to Tobias Thulin boosted Magdeburg, but still the three-time EHF Cup winners could not turn the match around before the break - but were lucky, as Icelander Omar Ingi Magnusson scored the 15:13 on the half-time buzzer.
- Magdeburg had clearly improved their defence at the start of the second half, but still had problems to scoring in this period - as Plock’s goalkeeper Adam Morawski had shut up shop, so it took until the 39th minute, when the result was levelled 17:17.
- With his fourth goal at his fifth attempt, finally Moritz Preuß broke the spell for the 20:19, Magdeburg’s first lead.
- Finishing a 4:0 run for 22:19, SCM finally had taken the upper hand, but the roller-coaster turned again, when Plock netted making it 24:24.
- Finally, a Norwegian treble sealed the deal at 28:25, when first Magnus Gullerud scored twice, followed by a counter-attack of Christian O’Sullivan five minutes before the end.
- After his six goals against Plock, SCM top scorer Magnusson is on 87 goals, just nine below Emil Jacobsen, the current top scorer of the competition
14-year-long wait comes to an end
Since 2007, SC Magdeburg have not reached any final of a European Cup club competition. 14 years ago, they had won their last trophy, beating Spanish side BM Aragion in the final of the EHF Cup after winning that title already in 1999 and 2001. Their international history was highlighted by the Champions League trophy in 2002. But Magdeburg had lost the last two semi-finals in the EHF Cup Finals: 2017 in Göppingen against Göppingen and in 2018 on home ground against Saint-Raphael from France.
Both teams could have won the match. The key was in the second half, as we knew that Magdeburg will improve. In the first half we were better, but after the break, we had problems with Michael Damgaard. He scored some goals and was strong with assists in many situations. Despite being down by three, we managed to pull it level, but in the end, we missed some shots. Magdeburg’s goalkeepers were fantastic, but I am proud of my players. We did a great job, we knew we are not in the favourite's role, but we came here with big motivation, so we can be proud.
It was a tough game and I think Plock were a bit tired in the second half. We seemed to have more power than they did and I think that was the real game changer in the end.