On Victor’s night, Barça are victorious
Last week, the last minutes were like a rollercoaster ride, and on Wednesday the re-match was the same, decided only in the last minute. After the lucky 30:30 draw at Kiel in round 7, Barça took their seventh victory in eight group matches in a true Match of the Week.
As THW only scored two goals in the last 10 minutes, the hosts prevented the tenth home defeat in their EHF Champions League history and turned a 18:20 deficit in a 26:24 victory. The record winners are now already nine points ahead of Kiel, topping the table with 15 points – on a night to remember. Domen Makuc (six goals for Barça) and Niklas Ekberg (five for Kiel) were the top scorers.
- after the first minutes were imprinted by an outstanding performance from THW goalkeeper Niklas Landin, who saved four of Barça’s five first shots, the momentum changed when Barça goalkeeper and eventual Player of the Match Gonzalo Perez de Vargas shut up his shop - he saved eight shots in the first half
- although the match was on the edge, the hosts did not lead throughout the first half, and not until the 49th minute
- the thrilling, but low-scoring duel continued after the break, when Barça did not score in the first eight minutes, but Kiel could not profit much from this problem, netting only twice
- Kiel’s 20th goal was the first one by Sander Sagosen after a six-month injury break and two foot surgeries, and came in his first Champions League match since the victorious quarter-finals in May against PSG
- Haniel Langaro netted for Barça’s first lead at 22:21 in minute 50, and a double-strike by Domen Makuc and Ludovic Fabregas provided the record winners of the Champions League with their two-goal advantage at 25:23
- when defence boss Patrick Wiencek received a red card after a collision with Makuc, Kiel had to play the final two minutes with a one-man-disadvantage. Finally they were the unlucky losers in a thrilling match, which levelled the low-score record of the season with 50 goals, alongside Plock’s 27:23 victory against Porto
A perfect result for Victor Tomas’ farewell
Barça remain on top of the group and won the MOTW in a duel of two clubs with a total of 14 Champions League trophies between them. Therefore, this match was the perfect setting for saying farewell to their long-term team captain Victor Tomas, who lived the motto “once Barça, always Barça” like no other.
Right wing Tomas played 18 years for Barça from 2002 until 2020 and won the trophy three times at Cologne (2011, 2015 and 2020), before he finished his career. But still, he is connected to handball, as ambassador for the EHF ‘Respect your talent’ project, and as a players’ agent. On Wednesday night his jersey with number 8 was lifted under the roof of Palau Blaugrana - and no other player will receive this number again.
It was a really tough game against one of the best teams in the Champions League. It was a rough game in defence, the goalkeepers were good, and it was a typical game between two teams that want to win the Champions League. It is good for us to win the game at the end, to get the two points, and to get a good celebration with Victor (Tomás) tonight.