For this year, the great debate about whether the Bundesliga or the Liga Asobal is the better league has been settled decisively on the court. Kiel held off a late Flensburg rally yesterday to win 30-28 and secured their first ever Champions League title. As this was an all German finale it was preordained that a German club would win the most prestigious European title. In the other European Championships decided yesterday, German clubs took care of their Spanish counterparts. In the EHF Cup, Madgebourg beat Ademar Leon 31-28 to win the title with a 3 goal aggregate victory. In the Cup Winner’s Cup, Hamburg and Leon each won by 4 goals at home, but Hamburg took the title by virtue of having more goals scored in their away match. Korean veteran and all-time leading scorer in Bundesliga history, Kyung Shin Yoon, scored with 10 seconds remaining to make the score 33-37 and tie the total aggregate score 61-61.
This all German sweep, puts the EHF in somewhat of a bind for their annual European Cup European Club Championship, a weekend competition held in the fall featuring the three club champions and a wild card team. This friendly tournament benefits greatly when it features competition between clubs from several nations. With 3 of the participants being German clubs the matches could be a yawner for their likely German host. Look for Portland San Antonio or another Spanish club to get the wild card invite.
Note: The EHF Cup and the Cup Winner’s Cup are essentially consolation competitions for teams that either don’t qualify for the Champions League or are eliminated in the early rounds of the Champions League. The teams that typically make up the field are clubs that finished further down in the standings the previous year or won their nations cup tournament. The formula for which clubs participate in the Champions League and which clubs participate in the lesser tournaments varies from nation to nation.