Nantes shock Füchse with flawless finish
It was not pretty, nor easy, but HBC Nantes secured their second win against Füchse Berlin, 33:30, to progress to the quarter-finals despite finishing third in the group phase, after winning only five games.
Füchse Berlin (GER) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 30:33 (15:14)
HBC Nantes win 58:54 on aggregate
- Danish goalkeeper Emil Nielsen had a superb evening, saving 14 shots for a 32.5 per cent saving efficiency. He also added the last goal of the game, which sealed Nantes’ qualification
- Füchse were into the quarter-finals berth in the bag after opening a 25:22 lead with 16 minutes to go, but a 5:0 run from Nantes turned the game on its head, and the French side never looked back
- 41-year-old right-back Kiril Lazarov had his best game of the season for Nantes, and scored five times in crucial moments to keep his team alive
- the German side were aiming to make the EHF Finals for the fifth time in the last six seasons, but had their earliest exit from a European competition since the 2015/16 season, when they went out in Qualification Phase 3 of the EHF Cup
- Nantes will face either Portuguese side Sporting CP, or the reigning title holders, SC Magdeburg, in the quarter-finals
Nantes’ experience shocks Füchse
After losing the first leg by the slightest of margins, Füchse Berlin were favoured to progress, as they were playing the second game at home. For large parts of the game, Füchse looked strong and dominated the French side, which failed to deliver in attack, despite a flurry of saves from Emil Nielsen.
Eventually, Nantes’ experience came through, as the team finished fourth in the Champions League, pulled away in the dying minutes, thanks to Rok Ovnicek and Aymeric Minne, who scored at crucial moments to take a surprising, but deserved win.
Of course, we are pleased about the win and reaching the next round. It was a very difficult match from the beginning but we started well and that kept us in the game the whole time.