quote:It's FINAL4 week with just five days to go before the biggest prize in European club hockey will be decided on May 14 and 15.
The Euro Hockey League winner will be crowned in Barcelona this week for the first time with the Netherlands’ AH&BC Amsterdam and SV Kampong, Germany’s Harvestehuder THC and Spain’s Atlètic Terrassa vying to be the best club team in the 2015/16 season.
The previous eight FINAL4 editions all took place in the Netherlands, meaning the winner at the Pau Negre Stadium will hold a unique place in the EHL’s history.
Just one of the FINAL4 entrants has won the title before, Harvestehuder claiming the Alain Danet Trophy two years ago in Eindhoven in dramatic fashion.
Can they do it again? Standing in their way in the semi-final is a battle with the hugely impressive KO16 and KO8 hosts, Amsterdam, who swept through tough challenges from Wimbledon and Real Club de Polo.
They have won medals three times before in the EHL but have never climbed the top step of the podium and would dearly likely to break that duck. Their attacking quartet of Mirco Pruyser, Valentin Verga, Billy Bakker and Kenny Bain mean they certainly have the firepower in their armoury.
Harvestehuder, though, are artists of the comeback. In winning the 2014 edition, they produced multiple fightbacks, orchestrated by Christoph Bechmann, and their KO8 win this term over reigning champions Oranje Zwart was another for the memory bank.
Tobias Hauke and Michael Körper are the star men in a hard-working side, the latter already scoring 11 goals in just four EHL games this season.
The second FINAL4 battle pairs Atlètic Terrassa – who take on the label of home favourites – with Dutch side SV Kampong. Neither club have reached this phase of the competition before but richly deserved their place on this elevated stage.
They qualified by vastly different methods. Atlètic looked down and out against KHC Dragons before Marc Pujal conjured a last second equaliser before Marc Calzada’s goalkeeping won them the tie in a shoot-out. Jan Malgosa then took on the hero’s role in the KO8 against KHC Leuven, scoring a sublime solo goal in a 3-2 win.
Kampong, meanwhile, were hugely impressive. They swept aside French champions Racing Club de France 6-1 before obliterating Rot Weiss Köln 5-1 two days later in Amsterdam. FIH Goalkeeper of the Year David Harte sets the tone, Sander de Wijn and Robbert Kemperman the steel and creativity while Constantijn Jonker nicks the goals in a well-balanced team.
It makes for two fascinating contests on Saturday, May 14 for the places in Sunday’s GRAND FINAL. Fasten your seat belts, it promises to be an exhilarating ride.
quote:De halve finales van de EHL dit weekend worden live uitgezonden op nos.nl. De tweede halve finale, Terrassa – Kampong, is ook live op NPO1 te zien. De finale, mits er een Nederlandse ploeg in zit, wordt zowel op NPO1 als nos.nl uitgezonden. Als er een Nederlandse ploeg in de kleine finale speelt komt daarvan alleen een samenvatting in de avonduitzending.
12.00 Harvestehuder THC – Amsterdam
14.30 Atlètic Terrassa – Kampong
11.30 3e/4e plaats