Handball record champion THW Kiel, despite his painful failures in the Champions League, sold himself dearly to the Spanish top club FC Barcelona, but after a tough fight conceded his fourth defeat in eight games.
The team from Kiel had to admit defeat in Catalonia by 24:26 (13:13) and with only two wins they are fifth in Group B, which would be enough to qualify for the play-off.
Against Barca, who are first in the group with seven wins and one draw, Kiel led 23:22 in the final phase, but then conceded three goals in a row.
The Swede Niclas Ekberg scored five times for Kiel, Barcelona’s best thrower was the Slovenian backcourt star Domen Makuc with six goals.
The Kiel team will have to do without veteran Steffen Weinhold, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury on Sunday, well into the new year.
During the final training for the first leg against Barca last week, Kiel’s top scorer Eric Johansson suffered a broken metacarpal hand, which put him out of action for several weeks.