Final Four 2006

Spent the weekend in Hamburg at the Handball Final Four cup 2006. I must say that I enjoy seeing all these athletic young men running back and forth, throwing balls at each other and shoving each other around :-)

I decided to get a fan shawl for THW Kiel, since I lived in Kiel for so many years. But THW was not really in form and they lost dreadfully to the upstarts from Kronau-Östringen. There was not much chance to admire Christian Zeitz from THW Kiel, as he spent most of the game on the bank. At least we got to see a lot of Henning Fritz (yes, we were sitting that close to the goal!), but actually, there was a bit too much action near his goal, with the other team getting 33 goals to THWs 31. Ah well. It was nice to see them live - in Kiel you can never get tickets because all of the games are always sold out to season ticket holders. The only chance to see them is at away games and tournaments. They are in first place in the top league and will stay that way, they are a very fast group of guys, down the playing field before you can blink!

In the other semi-final I was for SC Magdeburg, as I really like the way Stefan Kretzschmar plays handball. He doesn't give a flying farkle about what other people think of him, his official photo has his hair flying every which way and he has all sorts of interesting tatoos and piercings. His tongue piercing seems to help him concentrate, and concentrate he does when on the field - he seems to have more than one pair of eyes, and the things that he gets a ball to do don't seem to obey the rules of physics. He throws goals from the most difficult angles and manages to squeeze them in between the goalpost and the goalie. But he can also be too aggressive, and got thrown out of the game for shoving his elbow into one of the opponents during the second half time.

The final game was Kronau-Östringen against HSV. They tried to open the final game with a laser show that ended up kind of lame because the silly private TV station would not turn out their lights as they were on air sending some drivel or other. Then everyone was to stand and sing the German national anthem, but they seemed to have lost the tape, it took ages before it started. They put the words up on the board for those who might have had the wrong verse in mind... There is still something embarrassing about singing the German anthem for Germans, everyone was glad when it was over.

The game was really a nail-biter, back and forth, both teams fighting for the crown. In the end Hamburg squeaked ahead on a penalty throw and then with just 4 seconds to go and one man down they made a mistake on sending in players and had to forfeit one more. The K-Ö team took out their goalie and put in another power thrower, so it was 7 against 4 - and the goalie (who had let through a lot of stuff) actually held this one and became the hero of the day. The HSV team all put on fisherman's shirts and neck scarves for the ceremony and squirted themselves with champagne. What a waste of good drink.

We made our way out to the car, and sat there for an hour, trying to leave the parking place. The soccer stadium is next door and there was a soccer game scheduled for just after the handball tournament. Guess what - there were a lot of cars. And no one could move forwards or back. What a mess, hope they get that sorted out before the soccer world cup, coming up this summer.

Pictures c. Reinhold Wulff, 2006

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