18.04.2024  LIQUI MOLY HBL

Matchday 29: Sprint for the trophy: top quartet in direct duels

The second against the third, the first against the fourth - there cannot be more title race than on the next match day of the LIQUI MOLY HBL. The newly crowned cup winners SC Magdeburg travel to SG Flensburg-Handewitt, who have the last chance to turn the title duel into a three-way battle, while league leaders Füchse Berlin host the defending champions and record champions THW Kiel. The game between the dethroned cup winners Rhein-Neckar Löwen and cup finalists MT Meslungen also belongs in the top game category. And the lights are still on in the basement: the bottom of the table welcomes the second to last, the third from last welcomes the fifth from last.

Thursday, 18 April 18th:

FRISCH AUF! Göppingen vs. HSG Wetzlar (19:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • HSG Wetzlar are eleventh in the table with 23:33 points, two places and two points ahead of the hosts from Göppingen (21:35).
  • FRISCH AUF! Have only won one of the last six games (32:29 against Erlangen), most recently there was a 27:32 defeat against Füchse Berlin.
  • After four defeats in a row, HSG Wetzlar were able to stop the downward trend with a 30:27 win against Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
  • In the reverse fixture on matchday five, Wetzlar celebrated its first win of the season with 29:24. Overall, the record is absolutely balanced: Wetzlar and Göppingen each won 20 games and drew five times, most recently in September 2022.
  • With 156 goals, Wetzlar's Slovenian Domen Novak remains in eighth place among the league's top 10 scorers.

TBV Lemgo Lippe vs. TSV Hannover-Burgdorf (19:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • TBV Lemgo have lost the last three games against Melsungen, Kiel and Leipzig and have slipped in the narrow midfield to 12th place with 21:35 points, being only three points ahead of third-from-last Eisenach.
  • The warriors from Hanover overcame the exit from the European League and secured a happy 27:26 win in Leipzig last Friday, their first win after two defeats. In seventh place, Hannover-Burgdorf are level on points with sixth place Gummersbach in the race for a European Cup spot.
  • Recken won the reverse fixture at home 34:32 and are also ahead in the overall record against TBV with 13:9 wins. The last away win in Lemgo was in November 2021.
  • The best shooters of both teams are only ten goals apart: Samuel Zehnder (TBV) has scored 133 goals, Marius Steinhauser (TSV) has 123.

Rhein-Neckar Löwen vs. MT Melsungen (19:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • Can Melsungen take the momentum from the REWE Final4 or have MT left too much strength in Cologne? After the semi-final victory over Flensburg, the final was 19:30 against SC Magdeburg.
  • MT also recently faced Flensburg in the league (25:25). As a cup finalist, they have secured their ticket to Europe if Magdeburg qualifies for the Champions League, but are also on course for the European Cup as fifth place in the HBL (36:20 points).
  • After the long series of defeats, the Lions have won two of the last three games, most recently thanks to an outstanding Juri Knorr with 35:29 against the penultimate Bergischer HC.
  • With 24:32 points, Löwen are currently tenth in the LIQUI MOLY HBL.
  • Melsungen won the reverse fixture 30:23, it was the clearest success in 37 league duels so far and the ninth success overall, compared to 27 defeats.
  • The best scorers on both teams are Scandinavians: The Dane Niclas Kirkelökke scored 142 times for the Lions, the Icelander Elvar Örn Johnsson 127 times for Melsungen.

Friday, 19 April:

HBW Balingen-Weilstetten vs. Bergischer HC ((19:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • Last against second-to-last - and given the gap to third-from-last Eisenach, the last chance to stay in the league. Balingen-Weilstetten have 11:45 points on their account, Bergischer HC 13:43, Eisenach already 18:38.
  • The hosts have lost the last seven games (most recently 25:33 against Gummersbach), BHC even lost the last twelve games, most recently there was a 29:35 at the Löwen.
  • Balingen have the weakest attack in the HBL with 741 goals, the BHC have the second weakest defense (869 goals conceded). Balingen are the worst home team, the BHC is the second worst away team.
  • Balingen won the reverse fixture 30:29 and their overall record against the BHC is 9:6.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt vs. SC Magdeburg (20:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • Quite a few saw this game last Sunday as a cup final, but Flensburg lost the semi-final at the REWE Final4 against Melsungen, while Magdeburg ended up on the winners' podium after victories against Berlin and Melsungen.
  • At the REWE Final4, SCM goalkeeper Sergey Hernandez was named DKB player of the tournament after a total of 33 saves in two games.
  • In the league, the SG are unbeaten in eight games, achieved six wins and two draws, most recently there was a draw is against semi-final opponent Melsungen.
  • SCM have won the last six games and are currently second in the table, six points ahead of third place Flensburg and one plus point (with one game less) behind Berlin.
  • SCM has scored 25 more goals and conceded 35 fewer goals, Flensburg are the second best home team (behind the SCM), Magdeburg are the second best away team (behind Berlin).
  • Magdeburg won the reverse fixture 31:29, it was the 25th anniversary victory in the 63rd duel, as SG won 34 times and also celebrated 28 home wins in 31 home games against SCM. The last Magdeburg success in the Campus arena dates back in 2015.
  • Omar Ingi Magnusson has scored 175 times for the SCM, Emil Jakobsen 145 times for the SG.
  • Both teams are in the quarter-finals of their European cup competitions: Flensburg in the European League, Magdeburg in the Champions League.

Saturday 20 April:

ThSV Eisenach vs. TVB Stuttgart (19:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • With five points from the last four games, ThSV Eisenach is the team of the hour in the bottom of the table, was able to move away from the first relegation place by five points - and can take a giant step towards staying in the league against Stuttgart.
  • The Swabians won one of their last five games – 27:26 against the second-to-last Bergischer HC; Michael Schweickardt's team celebrated their last away win in October with 36:31 in Hamburg.
  • ThSV gained twelve of their 18 points in home games, TVB are the second weakest away team with 4:24 points.
  • The 28:22 in the reverse fixture on matchday three was Stuttgart's first win of the season, it was only the third duel between the two teams, both games in the 2015/16 season ended in a draw.
  • With an average of eight goals per game and a total of 224 goals, Eisenach's Manuel Zehner is still the HBL's top scorer.

Sunday 21 April:

Füchse Berlin vs. THW Kiel (14:05 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • Ten plus points already separate the league leaders and the record champions before the top game, the Füchse have 49:7, the Kiel team 39:15 points but have played one match less.
  • Füchse took 27:1 points at home, Kiel have an away record of 17:9 points.
  • The THW inflicted the Füchse's first defeat of the season on matchday 12 with 30:26. Overall, the THW won 33 of 44 games, 13 of which were at Max-Schmeling-Halle. However, in the last four games in Berlin, the Füchse got two wins and one draw.
  • After the 28:31 defeat in Magdeburg, the league leaders celebrated four wins in a row, but missed the final at the REWE Final4 due to the defeat against SCM and ended up fourth.
  • Kiel gave up a victory last week in the 28:28 draw in Hamburg when Nicklas Ekberg failed with a penalty against Johannes Bitter shortly before the end.
  • Ekberg is currently the best THW scorer with 125 goals, but there are three Berlin Danes ahead of him: IHF World Handball Player Mathias Gidsel is second with 221 goals, Lasse Andersson (187/4th) and Hans Lindberg (153/9th).

Handball Sport Club Hamburg vs. VfL Gummersbach (15:00 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • With six unbeaten games in a row (five wins and the draw against Kiel), HSVH has easily emerged from the bottom, now in ninth place, currently with 25:29 points.
  • In sixth place, VfL Gummersbach have gained seven points more, and VfL's record is also impressive with six wins from the last seven games. Gummersbach are only four points behind fifth ranked MT Melsungen.
  • Gummersbach had won the reverse fixture against the Hamburg team by a narrow margin of 24:23 after half-time deficit, but overall the HSVH's record is 18:8 victories.
  • HSVH left wing Casper Mortensen is six goals short of his 200th goal of the season.

HC Erlangen vs. SC DHfK Leipzig (16:30 CEST, live on Dyn and worldwide on HBL TV)

  • After four defeats in a row, HC Erlangen are only one point ahead of third-from-bottom Eisenach, but also six points ahead of the first relegation zone.
  • Leipzig, in eighth place with 25:29 points, are the first team in the table with a negative point account; most recently SC DHfK lost 26:27 against their table neighbors from Hannover-Burgdorf.
  • The reverse fixture was a defensive battle with only 39 goals, Leipzig won 20:19, it was the eighth win in the 15th duel, seven times against HCE.

Photo: Popova