The 2015 IHF Super Globe champions defended their title to win the trophy for the second year in a row, this time defeating a different powerhouse EHF Champions League side, Paris Saint-Germain Handball. In 2015 Berlin won the final against the runners-up of the previous Champions League season, MVM Veszprem, and in 2016 therefore continue what appears to be becoming an impressive tradition for the ‘Foxes’.
“They had six or seven goals 20 minutes before the end but we decided to fight until the last minute, and that’s the reason we won – we wanted to just at least fight until the end. The spirit of these guys is unbelievable,” said Berlin coach Erlingur Richardsson following the match. “This was just a little bit of a question of the mindset of the players. I felt like they showed Paris a little bit too much respect in the beginning, and then we decided just to play the game. This is just handball, this is just a game – and relax, and have fun also.”
Duhail Sports Hall, Thursday 8 September
Final: Fuchse Berlin (GER) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 29:28 (12:15)
PSG coach Zvonimir Sedarusic let it be known he was confident his team would secure a victory when he started with Gorazd Skof between the posts in favour of Thierry Omeyer. As the goalkeeper for Slovenia Skof is certainly not a weak option, but Omeyer’s list of accolades make him one of the most renowned keepers in handball, so it was a clear tactic from the coach of the French champions.
Berlin started stronger with two goals scored in the opening minutes – by Petar Nenadic and Fabian Wiede – before Mikkel Hansen added the first for the French champions in the fifth (2:1). The current World Handball Player of the Year also scored his team’s second, levelling the game in the sixth at 2:2.
The score stood equal at 3:3 as Drago Vukovic was sent off for two minutes in the ninth – a dangerous moment for the Foxes, who must have known the numerical deficit would prove to have an impact facing a squad like PSG. During the suspension Nikola Karabatic took PSG in front 4:3 before Luka Stepancic increased the lead to 5:3, and those two goals proved crucial as the half progressed.
After 10 minutes of play when the score stayed the same Berlin coach Erlingur Richardsson requested his first time-out, and his team were next on the board courtesy of a ground shot from Wiede (4:5, 11th). Berlin right wing Hans Lindberg was injured in the next defence and had to return to the bench, and after his exit PSG pulled in front to 8:5 midway through the half.
At the 20-minute mark PSG held a comfortable four-goal advantage, but from that point they could not pull further ahead and the 2015 champions slowly closed the deficit with a goal from Steffen Fath taking the score to 11:13 in the 28th. Sedarusic brought Omeyer into the goal, and he saved the first shot against him, keeping the score the same as the half-time whistle sounded.
In the second period PSG were first on the board with a goal from left wing Uwe Gensheimer opening a four-goal lead at 16:12, and the situation quickly became worse for Berlin as the French side pulled in front to 19:13 by the 37th before Edouard Kempf received a two-minute suspension. That was a turning point that initiated a comeback from Berlin, who slowly closed the gap to 16:22 then 19:23 in the 44th.
Only one minute later the 2015 champions had decreased the deficit to two, though from there Paris kept the ‘Foxes’ at bay as they maintained a steady two to three-goal distance (26:23, 50th) – but Berlin were not finished yet. Again they crept closer, with left wing Bjarki Elisson taking the German side within one at 25:26 in the 53rd.
An outstanding ground shot from Nenadic kept the distance there as the last five minutes began (27:26 for PSG), and it was the left back who scored the crucial equaliser at 27:27 in the 57th. It took two more minutes for the deciding goal to find the back of the net, and it came from Berlin’s Steffan Fath. After his goal the Foxes stopped two PSG attacks in a row before Nenadic scored the last goal of the game.
PSG lost their final opportunity to level the score, and Berlin moved into attack with less than 30 seconds left. Goalkeeper Skof made a great save on the final shot, but even as he ran for the rebound it was too late – the final buzzer sounded as the score board showed a one-goal advantage for Berlin, who celebrated their second straight Super Globe title.
“We believed in this,” said Nenadic following the win. “There were seven minutes and we had nothing to lose anymore, and now in the end we showed that last year was not a surprise.”