Rhine-Neckar Lions Win First Ever Handball Title

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MANNHEIM- Formed in 2002 thanks to the merger between Kronau and Ostringen, the Lions of Rhine-Neckar, whose main base is in Mannheim, located south of Frankfurt/Main, has been a handball team that has quietly climbed up the standings to the top four, stalking the teams of Kiel, Hamburg, Flensburg-Handewitt and Berlin like a lion, in hopes that it will get its kill in the end.

On Sunday, the team got its prey in the form of the German Handball League title, but just barely!

After winning the European Handball Championship in 2013, the Lions won their first German Premere League title ever on Sunday, by sending their opponents from Lübbecke on its way to the second tier of the League in style. Thanks to an aggressive offense led by Andy Schmid and Uwe Gensheimer, the Lions took the lead right away and never looked back, taking an early 6-2 lead and leading by as many as seven points at halftime (17-10) before putting the game away in the second half. The final score was 35-23. Lübbecke, which joins Eisenach in the second league in the upcoming season, could not find any answers to a hungry Lion offense, which pounced on them all day with several blocks and interceptions.

The Lions’ victory added the last nail to the coffin of Flensburg’s title chance. Despite SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s stunning 41-27 victory over the Bergisch SC handball team, the Albatross’ quest for their first title since 2004 fell just a point short of their goal. The team had split the series with the Lions during the regular season. Despite finishing as Vizemeister (the name for runner-up) both Flensburg and Rhine Neckar have automatically qualified for the Champions League in the coming season. Sadly for the Lions, the title was bitter sweet, as the team is bidding farewell to Gensheimer. After 13 years playing for his hometown team, he will play his next season at Paris St. Germain in the French League this fall.

Archrival THW Kiel finished third in regular season play, by beating Stuttgart 32-23. For the Zebras, they finished their regular without any championship title for the first time since 2003. Stuttgart wrapped up its first regular season in the Premere League and together with Leipzig, which edged Wetzlar 30-29 in its final game of its first season in the Oberhaus, will be competing for the Handball Crown come next season. The two teams finished in 15th and 11th places respectively.

 

The Files would like to congratulate the team from Rhine-Neckar on their first ever German Premere League title and wish them all the best in the next season. You guys deserved it! 🙂

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Sensation Made in Germany

Stadium woes

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Magdeburg avenges Flensburg-Handewitt in the Handball German Cup, FC Bayern Munich wins another title, German Invasion in American Football?

The weekend of May 1 will go down as sensation made in Germany. A heavily favored team goes down in handball, the ladies soccer team beats the men at the title and lastly, a German is coming to Minnesota to play for his favorite professional football team. How did this happen? Let’s have a look at the highlights.

 

MAGDEBURG WINS FIRST GERMAN CUP IN 20 YEARS

Last year, the Fighting Albatrosses of SG Flensburg Handewitt stole not only one but two titles, including a stunning come-from behind victory against SC Magdeburg in the German Cup. This year, the team, with its aspirations of going for the triple crown, including the regular season title, may end up finishing the 2015/16 handball season empty handed. After being eliminated in the Champions League by Kielce (Poland) last week, the team had its last chance of redemption spoiled by SC Magdeburg. The team, currently in 10th place, not only beat the current second place team 32-30 today in Hamburg, taking revenge of last year’s defeat in the German Cup. Magdeburg’s German Cup championship is the first in 20 years. The team took advantage of early misques early by Flensburg and lead for much of the Finals game. Despite beating the Rhine-Neckar Lions 24 hours earlier, FH will need to win out and the Lions lose half of the remaining six games in order to win the regular season title. While Magdeburg is celebrating its first title in ages, this may serve as momentum going into the next season, as their place in the premere league is secured. 20 years was worth the wait. 🙂

 

FC BAYERN MUNICH WINS ANOTHER TITLE 

The record is getting old and tattered and the songs are being played over again. But another soccer title is coming to Munich…..

in Women’s Soccer!

The ladies of FC Bayern Munich knocked off Bayer Leverkusen today by a score of 5-0. With only two games left in the season in the Bundesliga, the team coached by Thomas Wörle won its second regular season title in a row, dousing all hopes of second place finisher Wolfsburg of winning its second title in four  years. The men’s soccer team has yet to clinch their 26th Bundesliga title. While they failed to do that in a 1-1 draw against Mönchengladbach yesterday, the team can still clinch the title in the next game against Ingolstadt on May 7th.

 

GERMAN AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER COMES TO MINNESOTA

America has long since been the place where people go from rags to riches, even in professional sports. While the Baltimore Colts picked up a jem off the streets in Johnny Unitas and made him a champion quarterback (read about his history here), there is another person that is following his footsteps. The catch: he has played American football for only five years but never at an American college. And he’s from Germany! Moritz Boehringer, who played only one season in the Bundesliga version of American Football for the Unicorns of Schwabish-Hall, is heading to the Minnesota Vikings after the team drafted him on Saturday. He plays wide-receiver, has speed and can outsmart the defensive secondary. The question is with only a handful of years experience, can he pull it off in the big leagues? Growing up watching fellow Viking Adrian Peterson (who is running back) play, he will have his wish come true by meeting him and perhaps work together to get him acquainted with life in Minnesota, which is not only laden with American football on all levels in the fall, but also anything pertaining to the culture of snow and cold, which is typical of the professional sport. But for the German, who is entering a different culture, he will feel right at home as not only the team, but also the people in the state are keen of having a chat over hot chocolate, going ice fishing, displaying their prized animals at the state fair, golfing, travelling to the lakes area for a swim, watching baseball,…..  In other words, herzliche Wilkommen in Minnesota von einem aus diesem Bundestaat gestammten Amerikaner, der seit fast 20 Jahren dein Land und seine Kultur als Kolumnist und Englischlehrer genossen hat. Viel Spass und viel Glück! 🙂  More on the German football player in Minnesota here.

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Jürgen Klopp Calls It Quits

Head Coach of German Soccer Team Borussia Dortmund to step down after the end of the season

FlFiNewsflyer logoDORTMUND- The 2014/15 soccer team in the German Bundesliga has, so far, been a season full of surprises- both in terms of Cinderella teams as well as major disappointments. Of these extremes, there is one major surprise that will be talked about in the coming months. Jürgen Klopp, the man with the hairdo and the colorful personality as head coach of the Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund will step down from his post effective on 30th June, the official end of the 2014/15 season. Klopp came to Dortmund in 2008 after coaching for seven years in Mainz, the same team where he spent his career playing soccer. After taking the team to the top level of soccer, Klopp took over the black and gold team, leading them to the Seasonal Championships in 2011 and 2012, the German Cup in 2012 and the Super Cup in 2008, 2013 and 2014. He was named Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012. However, despite his successes, his popularity waned and conflicts between him and the management escalated after finishing second in the Champions League last year, for Dortmund has spent all of this season in the bottom half of the standings, at times being in last place. While the team is no longer in danger of being relegated to the second tier of the Bundesliga, Klopp felt in the press conference today that it was time to call it quits and step aside.  While there is speculation that he will join an English Premier League Team in the future, his plan after the season is taking a hiatus to spend time with his family before making the next move in his career.

Klopp will be remembered for bringing Dortmund to greatest, especially after winning the championships in 2011 and 12 on the German level, as well as taking the team to the Champions League Finals against Bayern Munich, which won the trophy 2-0. But even more so, he will be remembered for his fiery personality on the field, bringing the fans to their feet and putting the referees on their toes if they make a controversial call. The most famous blow-up came in the Champions League game against Napoli (as seen in the video) which became famous among social networks. What will make Klopp bolt for England is his usage of English during his press conferences, with many expressions producing some humor among the audience, even if his comment of “the result was so s**t,” after the loss in the Champions League Finals was deemed inappropriate among American media standards.  While many coaches in American sports are known for their emotional behavior both on the field as well as off (please see the example in a previous post), on the international level, Klopp will most likely end up in the Top 10 of the most emotional but dedicated coach both in soccer as well as in sports in general. And there is enough evidence to prove it, as you will see in the example videos below.

And while Klopp prepares his exit from the stadium stage right, and ride off in the sunset, he will leave a legacy behind in Dortmund, something that the next coach will have to match. To close the article, here’s a question for the forum: What will you miss from Klopp as head coach of Dortmund?

Leave your comments below as well as in the Files’ facebook page.

Here are the videos of Jürgen Klopp’s Greatest Hits during his days in Dortmund for you to enjoy:

 

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Newsflyer: 11 June, 2014

Unknown photographer. Used in connection with article found here: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/lightning/va-lightning.htm Public Domain

Giant Storm Causes Widespread Damage throughout Germany.  World Cup in Brazil in Full Gear.  Hamburg SV Handball Team Finished?

Getting off the train this morning at Erfurt Central Station in central Thuringia, passengers received a shock of their lives, as the sounds of thunder and lightning made the state capital sound like warfare going on. Pick any war in the last 20 years and it was reenacted by mother nature. And this in addition to heavy rains that flooded streets and brought the vehicular infrastructure to a complete standstill for a time.  But this was the overture to the series of storms that occurred over the course of two days, ending today, which is comparable to Hurricane Kyrill in February 2007, and caused severe damage throughout all of Germany. More on that and a pair of sports-related items in the Files’ Newsflyer.

Video of the Storm

Kyrillian-sized storm cripples Germany:

Local Flooding in Cologne, Rostock and Berlin. Downed trees in the Ruhr River area, northern Hesse and Saxony-Anhalt. Train services suspended. Power outages everywhere. This was a familiar sign when Kyrill brought all of Germany to a complete standstill in 2007. Yet with the storm system sweeping through Germany yesterday and today, it brought back memories of the event. Sweltering heat gave way to golfball-sized hail, high winds and torrential downpour that caused critical damage to many cities throughout Germany. Fallen trees and flooding caused several raillines to suspend services, including the hardest hit area, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the German railways suspended all services statewide yesterday for the fourth time since 2007. Officials there are predicting services to return to normal by the weekend. Stations in Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were cut off from the rest of the rail network. Raillines between Berlin, Hamburg and places to the north and west were either closed down or rerouted. Over 100,000 travelers were stranded or had to find alternatives, which didn’t fare better with motorways being blocked due to downed trees and other objects.  Damage is estimated to be more than $135 million. News sources are predicting a clean-up effort taking up to more than a week to complete; this includes restoring the infrastructure affected by the storm. More information and photos can be found here.

Hamburger SV Handball Team to Fold?

Once deemed as the one of the powerhouses of German handball, especially after winning the Champions League Title last year, the handball team from Hamburg’s days as a Premere League team may be numbered. Faced with a 2.7 million Euro deficit (ca. $4.4 million), no president since the resignation of Andreas Rudolph in May and with that, the team’s main sponsor withdrawing its financial support, the team was denied entrance to the first and second leagues. Its last attempt to save face and be allowed to play next season in the Premere League is to overturn the decision by the German Handball League through the arbitration panel. The decision should take place on Wednesday. Should the panel uphold the decision or Hamburg withdraw its appeal, the team will be forced to play in the Regional League (3rd League) in the next season. In addition, the team will not be allowed to participate in the European Cup in the next season, despite finishing fourth in the standings. Melsungen would replace the spot left vacant. And lastly, the team will most likely file for bankruptcy, which could lead to the club being liquidated, should no one step in with money to help them. Such a free fall would be catastrophic, as Hamburg has competed well against the likes of the 2014 Season and German Cup champions, THW Kiel, as well as Berlin, Rhine-Neckar Lions, and the 2014 Champions League winners, SG Flensburg-Handewitt. More information can be found here.

World Cup begins tomorrow

Germany and the US are two of 32 teams that will go head-to head with the competitors beginning tomorrow. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will take place in Brazil at 12 several locations, with the Championship to take place on July 13th in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time since 1930, all the teams winning a World Cup will participate in the competition (Argentina, England, France, Italy, Spain, Uruguay, and Germany).  Spain is the returning champion, having edged the Netherlands in the 2010 Cup. This is the fifth time the Cup is taking place in South America, which has been won by teams from that continent the last four times. That means Brazil is the heavy favorites to take the Cup. More interesting is the pool play, in particular, Group G, where the US and Germany are in. They are scheduled to meet on 26 June in Recife. The stakes are high for the head coaches of both teams, who are both looking for their first World Cup title. Jurgen Klinnsmann is being criticized for the American team being Europeanized, which could be his downfall if his team does not make it. Joachim Loewe is hoping that winning the title will improve his chances of a contract extension before 2016. With both teams hobbling with players banged up from regular season competition, it will be interesting to see how the match will turn out, let alone, who will go far in the Cup. More on the Cup to come in the Files. If you want to know more about the tournament, click here for details.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt upends rival to win Champions League Title

You can imagine what a usually quiet Roterstrasse in Flensburg’s city center looked like after the upset last night!

The German handball team of SG Flensburg-Handewitt had been, more or less, owned by its archrival to the east, THW Kiel in the last seven years, with the zebras taking the crown on the national and international fronts. This includes winning the triple crown (the German Super Cup, the German Regular Season Title and the Champions League Title) in 2012 with an unprecedented 36-0 record- the first team ever in Germany to achieve that feat. There would be a time when the albatrosses from the Hölle Nord (also known as the Flens Arena) would finally get their revenge.

That time came yesterday, and in a big way!

Despite finishing third in the regular season standings and losing in the German Super Cup championship to them pesky foes,SG Flensburg-Handewitt (FH) finally took down Kiel in Cologne for the Champions League title, by a score of 30-28! Not only was the payback bitter sweet for the team lead by scorers Anders Eggert and Lasse Svan, but the victory brought home the team’s first ever Champions League title.

After upsetting Barcelona in the semi-finals, the team found itself behind early, as Kiel, fresh from knocking off MKB Veszprem, had built a six-point lead and was bound to run away with its fourth Champions League title in the team’s history. Despite being down 11-5, FH mounted a comeback of Herculean portions, thanks to aggressive offense and goalie Mattias Andersson denying one goal after another coming from the zebras, led by Aron Palmarsson. After trailing 16-14 at halftime, FH took its first lead in the 39th minute and never looked back.  Despite a frenzy comeback in the last minute after being down 25-21, Kiel finally ran out of steam as time expired, and the crowd of 20,000 celebrated FH’s first ever Champions League title in the team’s 24-year history.

Sensational is the word to describe FH’s heroic deeds, as the comeback was the second in a row, after it upset Barcelona in overtime of the semifinals,  despite being down by six goals with eight minutes left in the game.  This time SG Flensburg-Handewitt was the team outscoring everybody, giving THW Kiel something to digest in the offseason while their archrivals celebrate their first ever title on the international scale.  After a welcome-home celebration which will fill the streets of Roter Strasse (Flensburg’s city center), the next item on their to do list is the German championship and defending the Champions League title, a goal that was once unrealistic two years ago but is now within their grasp after the team’s successful run for the Champions League title and ending the 2013/14 season with a loud bang.

The Flensburg Files would like to congratulate the SG Flensburg-Handewitt team for its sensational run for the Champions League title and for giving the fans the best game of the season. You guys definitely won a lot of hearts with your run and gave the author another incentive to bring more expatriates to Flensburg to watch some handball games at the Flensarena! Revenge is sweet, but something like this is the most memorable and will set the stage for more successes to come.