No happy ending in Linz in the first thriller finale

No happy ending in Linz in the first thriller finale
Spectacular first final game: Linz circle runner Dejan Babic flying low.
Image: GEPA pictures

The handball players of HC Linz AG had to admit defeat in the first game of the “Best of 3” final series at West Wien on Sunday at 24:25 (11:12). In order to keep the chance of the first championship title since 1996, the people of Linz have to win the home game on Wednesday (8:20 p.m. live on ORF Sport Plus and Laola1.tv).

“It was a game with a lot of fighting, we gave away one or two balls too much in attack,” said Linz coach Milan Vunjak of the desire for revenge. “We have provided a bomb cover,” praised Michael Draca, coach of SG Westwien, who will leave the league after the season for financial reasons.

Goalkeepers dominated

Nicolas Paulnsteiner, Elias Derdak and injured goalkeeper Florian Kaiper will switch from West Vienna to Linz in the summer. As team official from the bench, the latter saw how his replacement in the West Wien goal, Constantin Möstl, became a protagonist of the first final game right from the start. With a defense rate of around 50 percent (40 over the entire game), the 23-year-old, who will switch to Hard, pulled out the Linzer tooth. Hereditary predisposition: 30 years ago, his father Werner Möstl, also a goalkeeper, won the last championship title in western Vienna.

The fact that Linz’s deficit was limited was partly due to Möstl’s opponent Markus Bokesch. The Linz goalkeeper, who got fit in time for the final series after illness and a fever, kept the back of the men in front free with 14 saves (37.8 percent). “We made it too easy for Westwien at the beginning and were too defensive in defence,” said Alex Hermann. That improved over the course of the first half. Hermann himself set an exclamation mark when he converted a flyer after a pass from Tine Gartner in the 29th minute to equalize 11:11.

West Wien gained a four-goal lead after the change of sides, driven by the 150 or so fans who had traveled with them, the guests fought their way back again and again, but never took the lead. In the final phase, top scorer Alex Hermann took responsibility (9 goals), but in the end it wasn’t enough.

The second final game on Wednesday is sold out. There will also be no more tickets at the box office.

The strangest goal of the first final game in the video:

Source: Nachrichten

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