Mrkva leads the way in Kiel win
Czech international goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva was the big difference between the teams when THW Kiel defeated Pick Szeged 34:29 in round three of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League group stage.
In doing so it helped the four-time EHF Champions League winners recover from their 38:36 defeat to RK Celje in round two, but leaves Pick still searching for their first points of the current campaign.
THW Kiel (GER) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN) 34:29 (15:14)
- in the middle of the first half, Szeged turned a 7:9 deficit into a 13:12 advantage in only eight minutes, but when Tomas Mrkva started shutting up shop, Kiel managed to turn the match around again
- at half-time Kiel had a scoring efficiency of 63% in contrast to Szeged's 50%, but they were only one goal ahead
- pulling ahead easily to 23:18 in minute 42, Kiel had the match under full control, while Szeged were weak in attack
- after 10 saves in the first half, Tomas Mrkva had stopped 17 pick shots which allowed Niklas Landin to rest for 60 minutes
- in attack, the left-handed stars were again THW's best assets. Right-wing Niklas Ekberg scored six times, right back Harald Reinkind five times – Szeged's leading scorer was Mikloas Rosta with five strikes
Weak start for Pick brings back memories of 2020
For Pick Szeged history is repeating. In the 2020/21 season, the Hungarian champions started with three defeats to leave them on zero points. Two years ago, the opponents were Kielce, Porto and Meshkov Brest, this time Juan Carlos Pastor's team lost against Barça, Nantes and Kiel.
Their upcoming task does not appear easier, as Pick face Mikkel Hansen's new club Aalborg. Last season, Szeged lost one of their first eight group matches - against Elverum, their next but one opponent.
I am happy about the success and was very satisfied with the first 20 minutes of the first half. I wasn't happy with the last period of the first half. We didn't play as I would have expected from my team, especially in attack. Then in the second-half we did better again and Tomas had a great day. His saves helped a lot.