The unbeaten home record of Bergische Lions in Solingen’s Klingenhalle suffered a dent – and against a direct rival in the battle to avoid relegation at that. The BHC threw away its chance of a home victory thanks to a weak first half and TSG Ludwigshafen-Friesenheim ran out winners by 27:30 (9:15) to take both points home.
Right from the throw-off, the Lions had their problems with their slow approach attack against the TSG’s compact defense and soon ran the risk of a penalty for passive play on their first attacks, with the result that the attempted shots were easy prey for the opposing side, which was more successful in attack than the home side – also because the BHC lacked its customary tenacity at the back. The team of Head Coach Thomas König therefore opened up a 1:4 gap after 8 minutes. After a quarter of an hour, with the scores standing at 4:9, the BHC’s captain Viktor Szilagyi made his comeback. However, the visitors were able to take their lead in with them at half-time. The TSG’s goalkeeper Kevin Klier thwarted Kristian Nippes on a fast break with the scores at 5:10 in the 19th minute and also stopped the BHC’s right backcourt player on the next attack. The Owls went in at the break with a 9:15 lead that reflected the run of play – they seemed to want victory more than the BHC.
However, the BHC got off to the better start in the second half and displayed the body language and presence that has come to be expected from it at home. The 2,222 spectators in Solingen’s “Lion’s Cage” sensed that and kept on firing their team on until the game was decided in the closing minutes. With just a quarter of an hour to play, the Lions had reduced the deficit from six to two, then Christian Hoße coolly buried a penalty and the BHC was right back in at the game (19:20 in the 46th minute). After gaining some breathing space by scoring while shorthanded (19:21 in the 49th minute), the visitors successfully played out the game with the resolve and purpose they had displayed from the outset to pick up their first away points of the season.
Sebastian Hinze, the BHC’s head coach, commented: “Congratulations to Friesenheim. It deservedly won on the merits of the first half. We played a decent second half, although not everything worked out when we had the ball. We conceded too many fast breaks and missed six free shots – that’s just too many. I had the feeling the players were itching to go out and play, but they didn’t manage to reproduce that on court to begin with.”