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HC Erlangen captures hard-fought win against Bietigheim to climb to ninth in the table

Nuremberg, 05-16-2019

Whereas HC Erlangen was in contention for a place in the top nine going into the encounter on the 31st game day, the visitors from Bietigheim, who gained promotion to the DKB German Handball League just last season, were fighting to stay in the top flight. As a result, both teams were highly motivated at the beginning. The club from Swabia got off to the better start and pulled 1:4 ahead in the 7th minute thanks to having an extra man for four minutes after Link and Bissel were given two-minute penalties. However, HC Erlangen then moved into turbo drive and tied the score at 4:4 with goals from Mappes, Link and Overby. Strong saves by Katsigiannis and goals by Büdel and von Gruchalla put Erlangen in front for the first time (6:5 in the 13th minute). From then on, the lead changed hands constantly. Both sides fought for every ball and neither Bietigheim, who operated at times with man-to-man covering against Büdel and Kellner, nor the HC managed to open up a gap before the break. The 3,792 spectators in the ARENA NÜRNBERGER Versicherung saw both teams go in at half-time with the scores tied at 12:12.

The second half began with a goal by the visitors, but HC Erlangen struck back immediately with two of its own. The club from Franconia went two in front for the first time in the 33rd minute, when young star Benedikt Kellner scored from the right backcourt (15:13). The visitors from Bietigheim were literally fighting for survival and, after Wrangen missed two chances, equalized again (16:16). However, the HC defended strongly and was able to restore its two-goal advantage right away. In crunch time, Erlangen repeatedly managed to score through Andreas Schröder, but Bietigheim also kept on finding gaps in the Franconian club’s defense. Florian von Gruchalla scored a seven-meter penalty to make it 25:23 with eight minutes to go and so give his side a small cushion. When Benedikt Kellner stretched the lead to 26:23 immediately after that, the fans were no longer able to remain seated. The young star produced a strong performance in the right backcourt and stormed through the opposing side’s defensive ranks time and again. In the end, HC Erlangen celebrated a hard-fought 27:25 win to pick up its 27th and 28th points and move into ninth in the table – as well as break its points record from the 2016/2017 season.

“Of course, I’m delighted we won the game here today. We got off to a poor start, but were then able to win through in the end against an opponent who produced a strong fighting display,” said the HC’s Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson afterwards.