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HC Erlangen produces fighting display to win a point against Mannheim’s star ensemble

Nuremberg, 02-28-2019

HC Erlangen was able to draw 23:23 against reigning cup holders, third-in-the-table Mannheim, on the 23rd matchday thanks to another strong performance in defense and an unbridled desire to win.

Fired on by 5,261 fans, HC Erlangen got into the game well and, after a goal by Andy Schmid, it went 2:1 ahead in the 6th minute through Büdel and Bissel. As in the game against the BHC, the HC’s defense was wide-awake and managed repeatedly to steal possession from Mannheim’s star ensemble. Only its failure to take its chances at the start of the game enabled the visitors to go 4:5 in front in the 12th minute. Erlangen kept close on the cup winners’ heels throughout the encounter. Steinert made it 9:11 and playmaker Nico Büdel stormed through to cut the deficit to 11:13 with three minutes remaining in the first half. Right on the buzzer, the HC played out its last attack cleverly and pivot Jonas Thümmler pulled another goal back (12:13).

After the break, Katsigiannis saved a shot by Schmid and Nico Büdel, who ended up with a total haul of nine, equalized for his team (13:13). The game’s pace, passion and sparkle did not diminish in the second half, either, as both teams kept neck-and-neck with each other. The favorites from Mannheim visibly had problems against a home side in strong form. In the 49th minute, Nikolaj Jacobsen, Head Coach of the world champions, was forced to call a timeout. With the score standing at 19:19, he prepared his team for the imminent crunch time in the Nuremberg cauldron. The timeout had an impact: After Erlangen failed to score on two attacks the Lions opened up a 19:21 gap. Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson likewise called a timeout – and it also bore fruit: Now it was the turn of HC Erlangen to score twice in a row to tie the encounter at 21:21. A truly nail-biting game of handball ensued up to the final buzzer. From the 55th minute on, the HC fans were no longer able to remain seated. With the score at 22:23, playmaker Nico Büdel spotted the gap and added the redeeming 23rd goal after a plucky one-on-one action. Michael Haaß & Co. defended against the next attack sensationally. Four teammates stopped German international Kohlbacher fairly, with the result that the Lions could only shoot over the six-man block after the time had run down. The Lions’ playmaker Andy Schmid again put all his strength into the final shot, but it flew past Erlangen’s goal – to the jubilation of the HC’s fans, who were able to celebrate a 23:23 draw in the ARENA NÜRNBERGER Versicherung.

“We again produced a very good performance in defense today. However, what makes me even happier is that we showed our morale and never stopped believing in ourselves. I’d also like to say a big thank-you to our fans, who always got right behind us when it counted,” was how Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson analyzed the game afterwards.