Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO) 8-10
Hannover’s strong home performances helped the team to reach the Final Eight for the second year in the last season (and for the third time after they had played host in 2019). And the Germans – reshaped after the past two seasons with many new faces in the line-up – just did they were the best in: staged a powerful start, netted all their man-ups, three in a row, and led 4-2 late in the opening period.
Rino Buric pulled one back, though, with just 0:05 on the clock, and in the second quarter the Croats managed to gain some ground. They tightened their defence and shot out the hosts for almost seven minutes while netting two to take over the lead at 4-5. Waspo’s new Croatian player Andrija Basic put away a man-up 1:17min from time for 5-5.
After missed man-ups at both ends, Fynn Schuetze converted a 6 on 4 to send Hannover ahead once more and in this period Jadran struggled to find the back of the net. Finally, Luka Bukic could equalise from an extra with 2:09 remaining on the clock. However, Mark Gansen’s smart lob gave Waspo a 7-6 lead before the last break.
Based on the happenings so far, the home crowd might have had high hopes, but the Croats geared up, lifted their game and blew their rivals away. In 2:26 minutes, they scored three goals while simply killed the hosts in front. The Germans were unable to force exclusions and couldn’t penetrate Jadran’s defence on even strength. When Buric buried a man-up for 7-10 with 1:32 to go, the game was over – another Croat, Hrvoje Benic pulled one back 67 seconds from time, but it was only a consolation.
How they saw it
Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover
“First, congratulations to Split. We started the game very well, though it was our first real game in the season, and we have a lot of new players. The first three quarters were fine, but we missed a lot of chances in the fourth. The conclusion is that Jadran won the game, and we need to be patient with our young players. Today everyone could see once more that it is not easy to win against us and we are able to play on this high level and can give a tough time for everyone.”
Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran
“It was a very tough game, tougher than I expected. It was a very important first game, if we want to go to Belgrade, we have to win games like this. We were not ourselves especially in the first quarter – we are on the road, we had many games, players were a bit tired, perhaps that’s one of the reasons for starting off badly.”