Day 10, Group B – FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 12-8

After a series of single- or two-goal wins, Ferencvaros finally offered a game for their die-hard fans where the supporters didn’t have to get too excited in the fourth period as the three points were already in the bag. Still, it wasn’t an easy game for the 2019 champions as Spandau caused them some headaches during the match.

Which wasn’t that surprising either as the Germans could upset FTC on Day 5 (11-10). Now the hosts were out for a revenge, admittedly, and they kicked off the match as they really meant it. After a relatively slow start, led 2-0 after two minutes but didn’t add more in the first period, the Hungarians netted three in the second to go 5-1 up. However, just like in the opening period, their efficiency dropped for second half of this quarter too, still, leading 5-2 at halftime may have satisfied them.

Not the happenings early in the third though, when Roman Shepelev stepped up and netted two in a minute. Stylianos Argyropoulos also buried an extra between the two, still, it was an open game at 6-4. And soon Spandau came dangerously close after Mateo Cuk’s goal from a man-up – before the heat could have turned on, Vendel Vigvari’s fine shot from a 6 on 5 made it 7-5. After a steal, FTC earned a penalty 45 seconds later in the ensuing counter, Daniil Merkulov converted it, while Spandau missed their next man-up so the hosts could look for a more peaceful-than-usual closing period.

At the beginning it didn’t look like one since Andrea Prioteasa scored an easy one from the perimeter and soon Spandau could play a man-up after a time-out to cut the gap to a single goal once more. This time the home defence worked well, Dmitri Kholod’s forced shot hit the bar, while his fellow Russian in the other team, Merkulov demonstrated how to finish an extra with a goal. 

Instead of 8-7 it was 9-6 – and soon the scenes were repeated: this time a save denied Spandau’s man-up, while Vigvari hit his third from action for 10-6. Even though there were still 4:28 minutes to play, it was inevitable that FTC would not let this go. Denes Varga soon offered some teaser from his exceptional skills, a wrist shot while not really rising from the water, and lately Argyropoulos delivered his fourth of the game, though the Germans also netted two extras in the closing minutes.

The win secured FTC’s Final Eight berth – this is going to be their fourth straight appearance from as many tries after their return to the elite stage in the 2018-19 season.

How they saw it

Zsolt Varga, coach, Ferencvaros

“I was kind of expecting that our offence would not be that balanced tonight. At the beginning, we were rushing things in our possessions, didn’t feed our centre-forwards and give the chance to the refs to call exclusions. We compensated that with action goals but those are special feats, we cannot rely on them entirely. Then we could calm down, the offense started working better, while our defence did a fine job as we held Spandau on six goals till quite lately. Our game was a lot better than in Berlin, that loss gave us an extra motivation for this match, and since we didn’t have the chance to train together over the last three weeks, this result is more than fine.”

Athanasios Kechagias, coach, Spandau

“The bad start was crucial as were 5-1 down early in the second period. We tried to get back into the game, we were close to come back to one goal for a couple of times, we had some opportunities, but we always committed some minor mistakes. At this level every situation counts and Ferencvaros played definitely better today.”