THW Kiel mastered the difficult away task at the cup winner Rhein-Neckar Löwen with ease and, thanks to the simultaneous mistake by Füchse Berlin, made a big step towards winning the title in the Handball Bundesliga.
The leader of the table (45:9 points) prevailed in Mannheim with 31:27 (15:11) and is now two points ahead of the capital club (43:11), who surprisingly beat TVB Stuttgart with 28:32 (14 :14) lost. New second in the table is defending champion SC Magdeburg (45:11), who celebrated a 37:23 (18:12) victory at HC Erlangen.
In front of 13,200 spectators in the SAP Arena, which was sold out for the first time in four years, the team from Kiel acted concentrated from the start and once again had strong support in Denmark's world champion goalkeeper Niklas Landin.
Sagosen: foxes blunder "good news"
The best THW pitcher was Sander Sagosen with seven goals. "That was a very important victory that we are very happy about," said Sagosen and was also happy about the Berlin blunder: "It's a surprise, but good news for us."
Since Kiel no longer have to play a top team in the remaining seven games, they go into the final phase of the season as the hottest title contenders. "It's inconceivable that the THW is leaving something behind," said Berlin's sports director Stefan Kretzschmar on the Sky TV channel, adding with a view to the painful bankruptcy in Stuttgart: "It's brutal to swallow."
The foxes were initially clearly on course for victory and 14:9 in the lead, which was gambled away by a 0:8 run shortly before and after the break. "After that everything collapsed," Kretzschmar complained. There were also red cards against goalkeeper Viktor Kirejew and left winger Milos Vujovic. "It's a major setback," said coach Jaron Siewert.