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HC defeats Stuttgart and celebrates the best season in the history of handball in Erlangen

Stuttgart, 06-09-2019

HC Erlangen celebrated a 28:27 victory on the road on the final game day of the 2018/2019 season in a fiercely contested and energy-sapping encounter against Stuttgart to break its own record: With 30 points and ninth place on the table, the club from Franconia notched up the best-ever performance in a season.

Anyone who thought before the 34th game day that HC Erlangen would slacken its efforts in the final game of its fine season proved to be wrong. The HC went to Stuttgart with its sights set on just one objective: To capture an away win to finish with and so make 2018/2019 the best season in the club’s history. Erlangen thus began its final game full of motivation. After the home side went ahead through Baumgarten, Nikolai Link got the visitors off the mark. HC Erlangen found it difficult to get into its stride in the opening ten minutes. Stuttgart pulled 6:3 ahead in the 13th minute, abetted by the fact that the HC failed to take its chances. But then HC Erlangen moved into turbo drive and closed the deficit to 6:5 in the 14th minute through goals by Bissel and von Gruchalla. The latter was in particular in clinical form, especially from the seven-meter line, scoring all six of his penalties in the first half and so laying the foundation for his side’s comeback. With a great deal of pace and oversight, HC Erlangen built a three-goal lead in the 24th minute and did not relax its grip up to half-time. The more than 100 away fans saw their team take a 16:14 lead into the break.

The TVB scored first after the restart, but Nikolai Link struck back right away to make it 15:17. The visitors were penalized for being too aggressive in defense on two occasions in the next few minutes and so TVB Stuttgart had an extra man for four minutes. It was able to close the gap to one goal (18:19 in the 39th minute), but when the HC was back to full strength, Nikolai Link scored his third to restore the two-goal advantage (18:20). The visitors were only able to find no antidote in defense to the clever Pfattheicher, who scored at will from the right wing and kept the club from Swabia in contention. There was huge jubilation on Erlangen’s bench when the young star Jonas Poser chalked up his first-ever goal in the German league to make it 20:21 in the 42nd minute. Things got really heated in the Scharrena in the 45th minute at the latest. After a foul by Schimmelbauer on Büdel, both players were given a two-minute penalty and the home side closed the deficit to one on its next attack. Both teams fought tooth and nail, refusing to give each other an inch in the closing minutes. HC Erlangen, who was determined to notch up points 29 and 30, played cleverly despite being constantly short-handed and, after the scores were tied at 26:26 at one stage, recaptured the lead. Nikolas Katsigiannis, who produced a strong display between Erlangen’s posts, prevented – as so often – his team from slipping behind by sensationally saving a number of seven-meter penalties. Benedikt Kellner shouldered a lot of responsibility shortly before the end and, with his goal to make it 28:26, led his team to its 15th win of the season. Stuttgart pulled one back, but it was not enough to stop the HC Erlangen winning on the road on the final game day.

“It feels great to finish the season with an away victory. As promised, my team gave its all today to capture the points. I’m very proud of my team. The key to success was definitely our good attacking in the first half, as well as a fine goalkeeping display and defending in the second half,” said Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson after the final buzzer.

Michael Haaß was also delighted at the successful end to the season:

“Both teams played at full tilt today and you could see they were hell-bent on winning. Today was a perfect finish to the season for us and the fans who made the journey. We want to keep on progressing next season and again fight for every point together with our great fans,” said the HC’s jubilant captain afterwards.