HC Erlangen lost on the road against Bergischer HC on the 12th game day of the LIQUI MOLY German Handball League. The club from Franconia led and put its stamp on the encounter for 50 minutes in the Klingenhalle, only for the team of Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson to concede a goal and lose by 25:24 in the final second.
More than 2,000 spectators flocked to the arena in Solingen and saw a tenacious home side, while HC Erlangen demonstrated its quality over large stretches with commanding play and a lot of patience, ably backed by its strong mainstay Carsten Lichtlein. The home side got off to a good start and went ahead on its first attack from a seven-meter penalty in the second minute after the HCE failed to score on its first foray forward. It also did not capitalize on its next two opportunities and it was not until the 3rd minute that Quentin Minel was able to equalize (1:1). The home team conceded its first two-minute penalty in the 4th minute, which the HCE promptly exploited to tie the scores at 2:2. Going into the game, Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson had emphasized that the basics were important – and his team also took that to heart and played with composure to begin with. Keeper Carsten Lichtlein then produced his first highlight when he magnificently saved the second seven-meter penalty in the 7th minute. HCE then displayed greater efficiency, went 3:5 ahead through Minel, Ivic and Sellin and impressed with cool, commanding play. Sebastian Firnhaber crowned this spell with a great lob to extend the lead to 4:7. However, the BHC then found an antidote to Erlangen’s good offensive play by adopting a 6:0 covering system. His teammates in front of him did “a lot of things right” in this phase, said Erlangen’s Keeper Lichtlein, who notched up a special personal haul: The 39-year-old was able to save four seven-meter penalties before half-time and so keep the BHC at arm’s length. The HCE went in with a 11:13 lead.
After the break, “we defeated ourselves,” admitted the stalwart Lichtlein. Although backcourt player Quentin Minel was able to stretch the gap to 13:16 with his third and fourth goals, the BHC fought back time and again. Even though it was often thwarted by the commanding Lichtlein between the posts, the home side carved out a lot of chances and reduced the deficit to 19:21 in the 45th minute. In the meantime, Jan Schäffer added his third goal and Minel, who often stormed through the BHC’s defense in superb fashion, increased his tally to six. Erlangen set store by experience and a closely-knit team, but the BHC, whose Stutzke was shown a straight red card for a foul on Bissel in the 54th minute, went 22:21 in front, before Minel equalized with his seventh goal. Both teams then traded blows in crunch time. Erlangen’s defense revealed large holes and allowed the opposing side to tie the encounter at 24:24 in the 58th minute. The BHC had time for three passes to score with six seconds remaining. And the club from North Rhine-Westphalia managed to do just that on the final buzzer, with the result that the team of Sebastian Hinze defeated HC Erlangen, the better side for most of the game, by the wafer-thin margin of 25:24.
HC Erlangen now faces a home game against THW Kiel on November 28 and, with its fans behind it, aims to capture the points against the club that holds a record number of German championship titles.