Barça Lassa secured an important draw on Sunday at the difficult away ground Sparkassen Arena in Kiel (27-27). The Catalans were ahead on the scoreboard during most of the match but in the last few minutes of the game the scores levelled out and the blaugranas went home with a valuable point which could be decisive in Group A of the EHF VELUX Champions. Xavi Pascual’s side are in first place in the group ahead of their final group game against Wisla Plock at the Palau. If they manage to win they will qualify directly for the quarter finals.
Away matches against Kiel are always tough and Sunday’s game was no exception. However, Barça started well and took a 5-1 lead, with Jallouz leading the charge, while the Germans only scored one goal in the first ten minutes. Largely, the defences were on top and the moves were long and elaborate. In goal, Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas and Landin were engaged in a battle of their own during an engrossing match in which the two keepers made decisive saves. The Germans’ high line of defence made the Catalans look for ways round them and they managed to stay ahead throughout the game against a tough side in front of 10,000 fans.
Barça Lassa led but they were consistently pegged back by Kiel. The defences were dominating but Barça’s Lazarov was on top form and he managed to score eight goals before the break giving his side a two-point lead at the end of the half (13-15). Kiel’s Ekberg was excellent, with six goals from six efforts. A double save from Gonzalo following the break kept them in front and they were 17-14 up and 20-17 up at various points in the second.
Momentum shifted near the end of the match and after 45 minutes Kiel took the lead following two Vujin goals (24-22). Noddesbo responded for Barça to make it 25-25 five minutes from time. The two sides scored a couple of goals each in the last five minutes and the match ended with a final score of 27-27.
The result is good enough for Barça Lassa, who face Wisla Plock at 8.00pm CET next Saturday. The blaugranas head into this final group game in pole position with their fate in their own hands knowing a win means they qualify directly for the quarter-finals of the Champions League regardless of what their closest rival PSG do.