FCB Borges staged a remarkable comeback to draw 38-38 with Rhein-Neckar Löwen and keep their chances of a top two Champions League group spot alive. Indeed, it took a controversial refs’ decision to deny them a win as Victor Tomas’s last gasp goal w
RHEIN-NECKAR LÖWEN, 38
FC BARCELONA BORGES, 38
Rhein-Neckar Löwen (22+16): Szmal (Fritz); Cupic (5), Stefansson (2), Myrhol (9),
Lund (-), Bielecki (3), Gensheimer (15, 5 p.) –starting seven-, Schmid (2), Roggisch (-),
Sesum (1) and Gunnarsson (1).
FC Barcelona Borges (17+21): Saric (Sjostrand); Rocas (1), Nagy (2), Noddesbo (3),
Jernemyr (-), Raúl Entrerríos (6), Ugalde (3) –starting seven-, Rutenka (2, 1p.) Igropulo
(4), Sarmiento (-), Oneto (1), Sorhaindo (2), Iker Romero (10, 6p.), Víctor Tomás (3) and Juanin
Five minute break scores: 3-3, 8-5, 12-7, 17-9, 19-13, 22-17 (half time). 24-21,
28-25, 30-30, 34-33, 36-35 i 38-38 (full time).
Referees: Jens Nybo (DEN) and Lelf Poulsen (DEN).
Venue: SAP Arena, Mannheim. 13.000 capacity crowd.
Things looked bleak for Barça at the break, when they went in 22-17 down after 30 minutes in which
the home team had shown themselves the more aggressive and incisive team. The German team’s
pairing of Myrhol and Gensheimer caused no end of problems and led them to an eight point(18-10)
lead at one stage, but Barça stunned the home crowd with an epic second half fightback that so
nearly ended in victory.
There was pandemonium at the end of the game as a last gasp Víctor Tomás goal was ruled out
of time by the referees, despite Barça’s energetic protests and video evidence that showed it
should have stood.
German show of strength
Barça Borges suffered a lot in the first 30 minutes as the Germans set the pace
backed by their enthusiastic home fans and after the early exchanges saw both teams scoring, it was
the hosts who hit Barça with a show of strength that Barça were unable to reply to.
The gap between the two teams opened up as the spectacular Gensheimer seemed to be everywhere
and with Myrhol and Bielecki also looking sharp, the aggressive German counter attacking soon began
to put some distance between the two teams.
Barça Borges did their best to stand up to the German attacks, changing their keeper and
their defensive system, but there was no stopping the hosts who soon raced to an 18-10 lead.
Finally, Igropulo and Iker Romero, began to stem the tide –a portent of what was to come
after the break.
Five goals down at half time they may have been, but the worst has passed and Barça
began to trouble their hosts as soon as the second half began, with a Victor Tomás goal taking them
to just two points behind - 24-22.
Entrerríos, who was conducting the fightback together with the goal scorer Iker Romero and
Saric’s contribution helped set up a single point lead through an Igropulo strike(30-31).
Both teams’ attacks were getting the better of the defences now and as the goals went
in, Cupic, who had been a big threat at the Palau but seemed more subdued here, shone for a few
minutes to put the hosts back in front. However, with the game entering its final seconds there was
still all to play for with the teams tied on 38 each, as Barça got their last chance to attack with
half a minute left.
Pascual risked everything by throwing on Oneta as an attacking keeper, but the team were
unable to take advantage and with 6 seconds left, Rhein Neckar Löwen regained possession and went
for the Barça goal. Fortunately , the Germans were also unable to make anything and with seconds
left, Tomas threw from his own area into an empty German net. The referees claimed that the time
had already run out and disallowed the goal even as the Barça players were celebrating. The Club
haven’t accepted the decision though and have made an official protest to the EHF.