Swedish duo steers Löwen to third spot
After missing the final due to the defeat against Füchse Berlin, EHF Finals 2021 hosts Rhein-Neckar Löwen were highly motivated to finish the event on a high - and they delivered a completely different performance. Beating Orlen Wisla Plock 32:27 after a dominant performance in the 3-4 placement match, the “Lions” secured a prize money of 40,000 EUR, 10,000 more than their Polish rivals.
Like in their semi against Magdeburg, Plock proved that the gap to strong German clubs is not that big. Again, the team of Xavi Sabate was not that far away from the 2013 EHF Cup winners.
After netting seven goals against Füchse, outgoing Swede Jerry Tollbring again was top scorer for Löwen with 11 goals - ahead of his countryman Kim Ekdahl du Reitz, who scored five times.
3/4 Placement Match:
Orlen Wisla Plock vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen 27:32 (12:15)
- It was the fifth Löwen victory in the fifth duel with Plock - and they weren't behind for a single moment of this placement match.
- Early on an imporving Morawski, helped the Polish side reduced an early gap from 7:3 to 9:8, but then the hosts could count on their goalkeeper Nikolas Katsigiannis.
- Löwen had to replace their team captain Uwe Gensheimer after his meniscus injury and after he did not have that much impact in the semi against Berlin on Saturday.
- Kim Ekdahl du Rietz, who interrupted his study break from university in Hong Kong to play the EHF Finals 2021, was much stronger than in the semi - and scored five in his “final comeback” for Löwen.
- While the host managed to stop Fernandez after the break, Zoltan Szita stepped in finally was top scorer of his side with six goals
- Again, Plock’s middle block Mirsad Tersic and Leon Susnja stood like a wall, but it wasn't enough to turn the match in the final stages.
- Finally, Tollbring’s ninth goal for the 28:23, followed by Groetzki's goal making it 29:23 in the 53rd minute decided the game. In the end, Tollbring was top Löwen scorer of the season with 74 goals.
International farewell to a Löwen quartet
They wanted to say farewell with the European League trophy, but finally, it was “only” the medals for the third position at the EHF Finals on home court: Three players and the coach had their last international match for Rhein-Neckar Löwen on Sunday: Two Swedes - Jesper Nielsen (Aalborg) and Jerry Tollbring (GOG) - move to Denmark, coach Martin Schwalb returns to his former club HSV Hamburg. Goalkeeper Nikolas Katsigiannis, who was signed after the severe injuries of Andreas Palicka and Mikael Appelgren last autumn, is still searching for a club. Biggest name among the new arrivals for next season is German top talent Juri Knorr (from Minden).
I think we all learned a lot from this weekend. It was a new experience for large parts of the squad and for me. Yesterday, I really gave it my all and played a full match. So today we were tired and you could see that in some parts when we made some silly mistakes. I think it is also an experience factor in how you learn to recover faster for such games, but I am young and I am sure I will be at such weekend's in the future. It's a good experience overall