HC Erlangen produced a truly nail-biting game on the eighth matchday of the DKB German Handball League. The first-division club from Franconia went down to the reigning German champions by just one goal in the ARENA NÜRNBERGER Versicherung and, despite its decimated squad, was a match for the star ensemble from Northern Germany for most of the encounter. In the end, SG Flensburg-Handewitt held on to a waver-thin lead to run out winners by 26:27 (14:15).
HC Erlangen began with a goal from Christopher Bissel on the very first attack. However, world champion Holger Glandorf immediately went down the other end to tie the scores at 1:1. After the second foul by Golla on Büdel, the visitors were punished with a two-minute penalty. The SG increased the gap to 2:5 in the eighth minute. Nico Büdel struck back with HC Erlangen’s third goal. In defense, the HC did not always succeed in preventing Flensburg from carving out chances. The star ensemble was able to score in particular from the wings. Schäffer and Steinert reduced the deficit to 5:7 while the opposing side was short-handed. What was probably the best goal of the encounter came in the 11th minute, when Nikolai Link pulled another goal back to make it 6:7 after a Kempa trick. Katsigiannis then parried a seven-meter penalty from Jondal, after which Steinert made short shrift, powering his way through to tie the scores at 8:8. The league leaders then cleverly exploited the subsequent situation when they had an extra man and so were able to open up a three-goal lead by the 20th minute. The team of Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson showed outstanding commitment, giving its all and fighting for every ball. Nico Büdel made it 9:11 and Johannes Sellin stole possession in defense to pull a goal back (10:12). After Thümmler won possession, it was Martin Murawski who scored from the left wing. The club from Franconia again captured possession in defense in the 25th minute and managed to tie the encounter at 12:12 with a seven-meter penalty by Steinert. Spurred on by the vociferous home fans, playmaker Nico Büdel put the HC ahead three minutes before half-time. Both teams went in at the break with the score 14:15.
After the restart, the HC was initially short-handed and conceded four goals. It was not until the 36th minute that Steinert put the fans in the ARENA out of their misery and scored to make it 15:19. In attack, the home side was thwarted after the break by a string of saves by the in-form keeper Bergerud, with the result that the German champions were able to pull 16:22 ahead in the 42nd minute. Nikolai Link made it 17:22 and, after a save by Katsigiannis, Steinert cut the deficit to 18:22. Steinert, who ended up with eight goals, spelled out that HC Erlangen would not go down without a fight by reducing the deficit further to 19:22 in the 43rd minute. HC Erlangen switched to a 5:1 formation in defense. That bore fruit, as Erlangen now won possession more frequently and also capitalized on its chances more uncompromisingly in offense. Büdel cut the gap to two with his goal with ten minutes remaining (21:23). On the next play, Schäffer snapped up the ball in defense and Bissel made the home fans jump to their feet by scoring shortly afterwards (23:24). With six minutes remaining, HC Erlangen then conceded a goal to trail by 23:25. Back to full strength, the club from Franconia pulled another goal back (24:25 in the 57th minute). By then at the latest, none of the 4,283 spectators was able to remain seated. Svan made it 24:26 and Link reduced the deficit to 25:26. A truly nail-biting game of handball ensued in crunch time. With one minute left, Steinert kept his cool to score from the penalty line (26:27). The SG played out its final attack for a very long time, with the result that Erlangen was no longer able to gain possession and so have the chance to win a point and so reward itself for its fighting performance.
“I’m really proud of my team today, despite the defeat. Although our squad was sparse, we never stopped fighting and didn’t let our heads drop for a moment,” said Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson after the game.