Barça stumbled upon the same stone again with Magdeburg, the only team that managed to win twice last year and was the only team to take the title of world champion from them. Very solid and offended, the German team knew how to smash the Blaugrana game and deprive Carlos Ortega of full trophies. Neither the resurrected Aleix Gómez’s 10 goals nor Nielsen’s 8 stops prevented the Blaugrana team from losing in overtime, which was behind after doing the hardest thing (6-4 in overtime): recovering 6 goals from the disadvantage in 10 star minutes.
Magdeburg got good marks in Barça’s show against Kielce in the semi-finals (28-39), closing all doors to prevent goal bleeding and canceling all Blaugrana’s attacks. The Germans, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga and third in the Champions League Group A, put up a very solid 9-yard defense, leaving no gaps in the tough, deterring the Blaugrana shooters and blocking circulation.
The 8-4 start between winger Pettersson and winger Magnusson was the first warning from Magdeburg, forcing Ortega to request a first timeout at 7:40. The Malaga coach wanted his defense to be more aggressive: “We’ll bite a little more”.
Barça increased their intensity at 6:0 and allowed them to shrink the score again with a series of 1-4 in 5 minutes (9-8, 10-9, 12-11). This was only a temporary patch, however, as Magdeburg stepped on the gas in the last 10 minutes of the first half and responded with a 9-6 run to enter the time-out with +4 (21-17).
On the Blaugrana side, unlike the match played against Kielce, the unbalance factor of the goal did not appear. Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas went to the bench with just 6 stops on 14 pitches (25%) in 19-16. Nielsen has taken his place, with Ortega looking for a shock before the break.
After Magdeburg returned from the dressing room, they made the 23-17 score +6, making Barça’s duel very difficult. Ortega resorted to the 5:1 defense and opened Makuc to attack, seeking new tactical resources. But the best part was that they started to find Fàbregas, who came out with 4 goals in a row and led to an approach (26-22).
The second necessary step was to land the blind on goal. Nielsen began to warm up and drew his weapons to stop Magdeburg. Effectiveness went from 22% to 36% in the second half, and Aleix Gómez woke up, who also showed up only to shoot 7m in the first half. Sabadell’s winger led Barça’s magnificent 2-8 series with a full and five goals, and equalized with 15 minutes to go (28-28). Blaugrana team managed to close the gap of 6 goals (from 26-20) with ant work from defense to defense.
The duel entered the decisive stage. A quarter-final where the fewest fail will win the title. Barça’s link was a bit off, coinciding with Langaro’s dismissal, with Magdeburg retaking their two goals (31-29, 33-31, 34-32) and entering the final five minutes with a decisive advantage.
Ortega again went 5:1 with Ariño and it worked. He shorted the German offense, Janc counterattacked and brought the situation to 34-33 and Fàbregas equalized 34 with 3 minutes left. The goalkeepers intervened. Nielsen stopped Saugstrup and Portner stopped Ariño. In the absence of 43s, Mertens found 35-34. Ortega called with 25 seconds left for the final attack. The ball from Mem to Fàbregas at six meters and Wanner’s penalty with 3 seconds left, 35-35. The match went into overtime.
In extra time, Wanne continued unfailingly from 7m, gaining the first lead (36-37) in the 63rd minute of the game, but a defensive error allowed Kristjansson to win the first half 38-38. In the second, Magdeburg was more successful. Portner saved one penalty against Aleix Gómez and one against Wanne, with Magnusson scoring two goals and Kristjansson putting the finishing touches (41-39).
Magdeburg, 41 – Barca, 39
Magdeburg: Portner, Pettersson (6), Magnusson (12, 7p), Saugstrup (5), O’Sullivan (1), Bezjak, Mertens (6); Weber (1), Kristjansson (7), Hornke (3), Damgaard, Jensen (ps).
Barca: Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, Janc (5), Mem (5), Cindric (1), N’Guessan (3), Ariño (2), Fàbregas (7); Petrus, Aleix Gómez (10, 4p), Langaro (1), Richardson, Frade, Carlsbogard, Wanne (5p), Makuc, Nielsen (ps).
Referees: Horacek and Novotny (Czech). Bezjak, Saugstrup and O’Sullivan (2) from Magdeburg and N’Guessan (2), Langaro and Cindric from Barça were excluded.
Partial: 5-3, 8-6, 10-9, 12-11, 16-13, 21-17 (rest); 24-18, 26-22, 28-27, 30-29, 34-32, 35-35.
Addition: 38-38, 41-39.
Clue: Dammam Gymnasium, Saudi Arabia.
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