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HC Erlangen captures two important points with a fighting display in Wetzlar

Wetzlar, 03-17-2019

HC Erlangen celebrated a win on the road at HSG Wetzlar on Sunday afternoon. In a spectacular game that really picked up pace in the second half at the latest, Nikolas Katsigiannis saved a seven-meter penalty after the clock had run down to crown himself the hero of the encounter. The victory in Wetzlar means HC Erlangen has climbed to 10th in the DKB German Handball League.

Schefvert put the home side 1:0 in front, but Florian von Gruchalla, who started in place of the slightly injured Johannes Sellin, tied the scores from the right wing. As in its recent game against the Lions from Mannheim, the club from Franconia was compact in defense and forced the opposing side from Hesse to the verge of being punished for passive play on its attacks right from the throw-off. Andreas Schröder put his side ahead from the backcourt. After a foul on Büdel in the 9th minute, the HC Erlangen had an extra man, but was thwarted twice in succession by the in-form Till Klimpke between the posts. The HSG’s captain Mirkulovski made it 4:3, but von Gruchalla went down the other end to equalize (4:4). The 4,421 spectators in the Rittal Arena saw a league game that was dominated by two strong defensive ranks, as both sides remained neck-and-neck. After the throw by Steinert was blocked, the home side opened up a two-point gap for the first time in the 17th minute. Büdel forced his opponent to concede a two-minute penalty on the next attack, but Thümmler only hit the post of the short-handed home side. Gorazd Skof was now in goal for HC Erlangen and, after being brought on, immediately saved a shot from Holst and so paved the way for his team to pull a goal back (7:6). Then, with the opposing team a man short, Michael Haaß tied the scores at 9:9 and, after a sensational save by Skof, Büdel put his side 10:9 in front with three minutes remaining in the first half. Both teams went in at the break tied at 10:10.

After the break, Steinert gave his side a 10:11 lead from the crease, but goals by Holst and Björnsen put the HSG back ahead. Under time pressure, playmaker Büdel equalized with an impressive underarm throw (11:11). Skof again made a sensational save, after which goals from Schröder and von Gruchalla gave Erlangen a two-goal advantage for the first time. Yet the home side did not slacken at any time and tied the encounter at 14:14 after the visitors missed two attempts. HC Erlangen now committed mistakes in attack more and more frequently, with the result that the HSG went 15:14 in front in the 39th minute. It was once again Büdel who kept his side in the game and equalized with his fifth goal. The HC remained very stable in defense, but too often displayed nerves in front of the home side’s goal and so was not able to open up a decisive gap. Fired on by more than 100 fans who had made the journey from Erlangen, captain Michael Haaß heralded in crunch time with a beautiful three-step feint to make it 17:18. Büdel added another from the backcourt and, after coming on as a substitute, Murawski scored right afterward after a strong save by Skof. With the score standing at 17:20, the HSG’s Head Coach Kai Wandschneider was forced to call a timeout. However, that did not bear any fruit, as the HC again captured possession and Büdel stretched the gap to 17:21. Jonas Thümmler added one more to give his side a five-goal lead for the first time (17:22). The goal after a Kempa trick by Schefvert did not throw the club from Franconia out of its stride, either. However, Wetzlar managed to reduce the deficit to three with nine minutes left. The final minutes then turned into a real nailbiter. Björnsen put the ball in an empty net, but von Gruchalla made it 21:24. In the 54th minute, defensive organizer Overby was given a two-minute penalty and Mirkulovski cut the gap to 22:24 and, after the HC failed to score, Holst closed the deficit to one (23:24). The final minute proved curious. With the score standing at 27:28, the club from Central Hesse blocked the throw from Steinert and sent Björnsen away on a fast break. Gorazd Skof tried to win possession, but touched the world championship runner-up from Norway. The referees punished that with a red card and a seven-meter penalty. Nikolas Katsigiannis, who came fresh off the bank and was not warmed up, saved Holst’s penalty spectacularly and a little later was buried under a pile of his jubilant teammates.