Olympiacos came back from the Christmas break after eight minutes

Group A, Day 4 – Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 7-16

The match started in the expected way, Marton Vamos hit the first for the Greeks after two minutes – but turned onto a different path soon after. Olympiacos, which came up with powerful performances in the first three rounds, didn’t find the rhythm for a while, wasted two man-ups uncharacteristically easily, while the Germans buried a penalty and put away an extra later for 2-1. Another Greek extra gone, before Georgios Dervisis netted an action goal after a silence of 5:40 minutes, just before the first break.

Konstatinos Genidounias continued the same way, his blast gave back the lead for the favourites, but a deflected distant shot by Flynn Schutze fooled Marko Bijac for 3-3. Goddess Fortuna quickly gave back that back to the Greeks as Konstantinos Mourikis could put the ball in from close range in a man-up, after a rebound found him. Then Filipovic netted one from action, and the execution of the next 6 on 5 was much more organised and Vamos finished it off for 3-6, then Bijac made a save in a man-down, so the game was about to turn into the expected direction. 

And it turned, indeed. Vamos blasted one from action shortly before the middle break, so Olympiacos was in a 0-4 run after 3-3. Though Hannover tried to withstand the pressure, managed to kill a man-down, but deep into the third the Greeks could sell the same set-up and this time Christodoulos Kolomvos made no mistake for 3-8. The hosts couldn’t really penetrate the Greek defence, they scored their fourth goal 10:41 minutes making it 3-3. Still, that was their only one in this period and Ioannis Fountoulis converted an extra 26 seconds from time for 4-9.

Schutze opened the fourth with a goal from a 6 on 5, but Filipovic was also on target in the Greeks’ man-ups twice so Olympiacos could even expand the gap (5-11). It didn’t look good from the Germans’ angle, and it went worse as they were running out of gas and Olympiacos’ experience and individual skills were even more dominating. At the end, alone in this period the Greeks could add 7 goals, so apart from the first period, they really did a clean job. The numbers tell it: after 2-2, the middle two periods ended in a 2-7 partial result, and the fourth brought a 3-7 run from Olympiacos, so Hannover gradually faded as the game progressed. 

The fourth defeat means that the Germans got far from making their fourth F8 appearance in a row, while Olympiacos, having missed the cut last season so disappointingly, now posted a perfect 4/4 at the beginning and can turn into 2023 with high hopes.

How they saw it

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover

“We played better than expected, I thought we had a lot of chances in offences, but finishing is our problem now, our shots are not very good sometimes. We played with some very young centre defenders, we need patience until we start collecting points. We have to work with the young players – it’s great to play these games with the big teams, these are all part of the learning process.”

Igor Milanovic, coach, Olympiacos

“In the first first quarter I had the impression that our players were already on their Christmas breaks. They didn’t respect the basic rules we agreed before – but from the second period they started playing defence in the right way and everything got into place from that quarter. I loved the beautiful atmosphere created by the audience, it was a pleasure to come to this pool once again. We took the maximum from this part of the season, and I hope we will continue like this next year.”