»The league is really strong this year« (new-deutschland.de)

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The Kielers around Nikola Bilyk (M.) want to do better against Flensburg than in the Supercup match.

The Kielers around Nikola Bilyk (M.) want to do better against Flensburg than in the Supercup match.

Photo: dpa / Marius Becker

Even in the start phase of the new season, the top games in the Handball Bundesliga chase. After record champion THW Kiel lost on Saturday at Angstgegner SC Magdeburg, now comes defending champion SG Flensburg-Handewitt in the Kiel Arena. However, before the 101st Schleswig-Holstein derby this Thursday, the club officials are looking more at the daily business and less at the title race. “The championship will only be decided at the end of the season,” says SG CEO Dierk Schmäschke calmly.

On both sides, the importance of this duel between the champion of the past two seasons and the current cup winner is undisputed. “A derby is always something special,” said Kiel's sports director Viktor Szilagyi. “It's a game you work for every day.” The Austrian knows what he's talking about. As an active man, he wore both the jersey of the THW and that of the SG. With Kiel he celebrated in three defeats five wins, with Flensburg he conceded in five games five bankruptcies.

In the league, both northern clubs have already lost points. The Flensburger reached at HSG Wetzlar only a 27:27, the Kiel met it even harder with the defeat of the undefeated league leaders Magdeburg. In the table the SG ranked third, the »Zebras« are seventh with one game behind. In the event of another defeat, the title favorite would be four points off the top. But for Szilagyi it's clear: “No matter how the match ends on Thursday, there will be no decision in the championship.”

In Flensburg one is of the same opinion. “But the Bundesliga is too balanced this season,” says Schmäschke. Results such as the 36:23 of the ascendant Balingen-Weilstetten on the MT Melsungen, the 29:25 of the Mindener in the foxes Berlin and the 34:27 of the two-time fast-pigeon Owls Ludwigshafen on SC DHfK Leipzig show what is possible in the league.

“I do not think that this year will again be a team with only two defeats,” said the Croatian THW playmaker Domagoj Duvnjak, who extended his contract on Wednesday until 2022. “It has been seen after three matchdays that the league is really strong this year.”

The Kiel want to set against the northern rivals just before home crowd a signal. In the previous 100 derbies the THW went 59 times as the winner, 36 times had the Flensburg in the lead. Last three weeks ago at the Supercup, the SG won after a seven-meter throw with 32:31. For Szilagyi, that was not a “real defeat.” After all, it had been 28:28 after regular time. “We played a draw at a neutral place,” said the Austrian.

Immediately after the derby, the first matches in the new Champions League season are scheduled for both sides. The Flensburgers travel to the Slovenian champions RK Celje on Sunday, after which the Kielers will welcome the Polish titleholder Vive Kielce, who will compete with former THW keeper Andreas Wolff. dpa / nd

. (TagsToTranslate) handball (t) Kiel (t) Schleswig-Holstein

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