Title defended, Mannheim stands head: The Rhine-Neckar Lions are again German champions. The team of trainer Nikolaj Jacobsen secured the bowl by a clear 28:19 (11:10) success against the THW Kiel on the 32nd. Game day premature and can no longer be intercepted in view of five points lead in the remaining two seasonal games.
Stalker SG Flensburg Handewitt had previously had at Fresh Up Openings with 27:31 (15:14) lost.
For lions, after the coup in the previous year, it is the second national title in their club history. 2014 and 2015 had made the lions second vice-champion behind record master Kiel.
“We were just playing against Flensburg, it was all about that and three days later we are champions. I still can’t believe it,”said Jacobsen. His players were also surprised by the triumph.” Of course, we’ve been thinking that could happen today. Everyone remembers of course, but our will was so great today,”said national player Patrick Groetzki at”Sport1″.
Swedish space star Kim Ekdahl Du Rietz, who ended his career after the season, has acted as an oracle according to Groetzki:”It was unexpected, but Kim Ekdahl Du Rietz has been saying for two weeks, Today we are going to be champions.”
At the triumph in the SAP Arena, the lions presented themselves much more forcefully than the northern German counterpart, especially in their counter-attack. When Kiel came through the robust defense of the hosts, it was mostly the end of the superb lion Keeper Mikael Appelgren. In the second round in particular, Mannheim’s gamer Andy Schmid ran hot and led his team with a great performance to the title.
Outside track in Flensburg as a switch point
The guest from Schleswig-Holstein seemed mentally and physically inferior in the decisive phase and surrendered himself to his fate. As a result of the defeat, the third-place Kielers continue to be under pressure in the struggle for the Champions League, Although Stalker Fox Berlin was surprisingly defeated by the VfL Gummersbach with 27:28 (15:19).
The decisive turning point for the renewed victory of the championship had been for the lions the 23:21-foreign victory last weekend at Flensburgern. With the success against Kiel, the twelfth consecutive league victory, the Mannheimers now eliminated all remaining doubts.
The lions were by no means considered the top favourite on the title before the season. Many in the scene had appreciated Flensburg more strongly, and the departure of Gallionfigurehead Uwe Gensheimer to Paris did not necessarily speak for a successful title defense.
title defense makes painful games forget
But Coach Jacobsen’s men did not let themselves be fooled. Even the fact that the club had failed prematurely in the Champions League as well as in the DHB Cup a few weeks ago did not take the lions out of its way. While competitors from Kiel and Flensburg weakened, they went through their thing ruthlessly. The successful title defense in the league weighs everything.
Even at the Final Four in early April in Hamburg, the former champion from the Danish border had been more than one number too big for the lions. With 23:33 one was formally declared in the semi-finals at that time, even in the tenth round, the Jacobsen team passed the German Handball Cup.
The defeated “zebras” turned out to be a stumbling block in the Champions League. 25:24 the Mannheimers had won the eighth final in the royal class in the hall at the Baltic Sea, but in front of their own audience they lost with 24:26. Flanked by accusations, the German record master had suddenly used players who were supposedly sure to fail, the term of the “Flunker Gate” made the round.