THW Kiel is 99 percent the new German handball champion. Due to the 38:23 (19:10) against HSG Wetzlar on Wednesday evening, competitor SC Magdeburg only has a purely theoretical chance of defending the title.
When the final siren sounded in the Kiel Arena, there was loud cheering. Everyone knew that after the home win on Matchday 33, practically nothing could happen. THW Kiel is very, very close to winning the 23rd German championship. With a four-point lead over SC Magdeburg, who still have two games to play, and a goal difference that is 41 goals better, everything is actually already clear.
“Just a few days.”
— THW professional Patrick Wiencek
Magdeburg plays against Stuttgart on Thursday and has to go to Wetzlar on the last day of the game. On Sunday in Göppingen Kiel will finally be able to celebrate the title win completely carefree – unlike after the home game against HSG. “You noticed after the game: You don’t know yet whether you can celebrate. Well, now we’ll just wait and see, we only have a few days left,” THW circle runner Patrick Wiencek told NDR.
THW goalkeeper Niklas Landin played an enormous part in the clear home win against Wetzlar. After eight years for the “Zebras”, the Dane gave a great performance in his last home game, repelling 15 throws.
THW professional Reinkind extended – and trumps big
The first great cheering of the THW fans was before the throw-in. It was announced via video cubes that backcourt player Harald Reinkind had prematurely extended his contract, which ran until summer 2024, until June 30, 2027.
With the Norwegian in the starting lineup, who came from the Rhein-Neckar Löwen in 2018, the “Zebras” actually wanted to quickly gain a lead against Wetzlar so as not to raise any doubts that they would collect the two points. But this plan didn’t work out: The Hessians started boldly and even led 6:4 (9th).
But then Kiel got going – and Reinkind played a big part in turning a deficit into a comfortable lead within a few minutes. THW pulled away from a 7:7 (15th) to 14:7 (22nd). And the hosts didn’t stop there. At the break, the game was practically decided with a 19:10 lead.
THW Kiel – HSG Wetzlar 38:23 (19:10)
Goals Kiel: Reinkind 9, Sagosen 7, Bilyk 5, M. Landin 5/1, Duvnjak 2, Ekberg 2, Fraatz 2, Wiencek 2, Överby 2, Pekeler 1, Zarabec 1
Goals Wetzlar: Mellegard 4, Nyfjäll 3, Rubin 3, Wagner 3, Becher 2/2, O. Klimpke 2, Novak 2, Fredriksen 1, T. Klimpke 1, Schelker 1, Weissgerber 1
penalty minutes: 4/4
Reinkind brought all of his seven shots into the HSG goal before the break. The people of Kiel went into the dressing room to the “German champion is only the THW” chants.
Kiel also hungry for goals after the restart
The hosts came back just as focused. After 50 minutes the lead – also thanks to strong saves from Landin – was already 14 goals (31:17). In the remaining minutes it was all about how big the home win would be. In the end it was a success with a difference of 15 goals, which the fans once again celebrated with the singing of the champions. The most successful THW professional was Reinkind with nine goals.
Farewell to Niklas Landin, Sagosen, Zarabec and Fraatz
And then there was still a lot of melancholy among the THW fans on this sportingly excellent evening. After the game, four players of the team were said goodbye. In addition to the Danish world-class goalkeeper Niklas Landin (to Aalborg Handbold), these were the Norwegian top star Sander Sagosen (Kolstad IL/Norway), the Slovenian playmaker Miha Zarabec (Wisla Plock/Poland) and right winger Yannick Fraatz.
“It’s an honor to play for THW.”
— THW professional Sander Sagosen
Sagosen spoke of a “difficult moment” when he spoke to the audience over the microphone and that it was “an honor for him to have been able to play for THW”. And then: “And we’ll celebrate on Sunday.” Zarabec said to the fans: “You guys are just so awesome!”
An emotional farewell to Niklas Landin
And then the moment had come when the best goalkeeper in the world received his well-deserved farewell applause. “Niklas!” Shouts echoed through the arena as the 34-year-old Dane stepped onto the playing field with his wife and two children. “Farvel og mange tak, Niklas” (“Goodbye and thank you, Niklas”) was written in large letters on the gang.
“I can’t believe I’ll never play at home again,” said Landin. It was always a great honor for me to play here. It was my best handball time,” said the two-time World Handball Player of the Year.
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NDR 2 Sports | 07.06.2023 | 11:03 p.m