MHB – Kiel: state of play of the German championship, kingdom of handball and dominator on the European scene

MHB - Kiel: state of play of the German championship, kingdom of handball and dominator on the European scene

Kiel contre Flensburg, un classique d’un championnat allemand dominateur en Europe. MAXPPP

A connoisseur, TV consultant and former Gummersbach player François-Xavier Houlet deciphers the German championship before the Montpellier-Kiel clash this Wednesday April 24 (8:45 p.m.) at the FDI Stadium.

After spending nearly fifteen years in Germany as a player and then sporting director of Gummersbach, François-Xavier Houlet converted to consulting on BeIn Sports. So obviously, Kiel and the German championship, he knows like the back of his hand as a former center half. On the eve of this quarter-final first leg against MHB, he delivers his analysis.

"The Kiel club has already been better, more dominant but it remains a big club, he warns. They are less in the spotlight but a Champions League quarter-final is no small thing. It’s still very sturdy."

MHB - Kiel: state of play of the German championship, kingdom of handball and dominator on the European scene

Because the THW must face increased competition on the national and European scene. "There are clubs that have come back, starting with Magdeburg, the reigning European champion, which is in the firmament. Berlin also dominates this year well ahead of Flensburg, Rhein-Neckar, lists the former French international. Before, there was Kiel-Flensburg which was the equivalent of Montpellier-Chambéry. Now other clubs have joined the fight."

Clubs that shine but whose European success does not necessarily reflect on the national team which has not won a major title since Euro 2016. "It’s quite logical . The Bundesliga took a big turn in 2007, after the world champion title and the European treble, analyzes François-Xavier Houlet. A lot of foreigners arrived, we were more than 50% in certain clubs. German players have necessarily played less. There is also a training problem which is much less developed than in France."

Kiel, an economic model

Economically and in terms of infrastructure, the Bundesliga is also ahead of its French or Spanish neighbors. "Kiel, for example, is a model. This is the only viable economic model. They finance themselves with 50% ticketing and 50% partnership with, for example, 11,000 subscriptions each season. It’s really a club apart, summarizes the consultant. The others live on patronage. But we must not forget that German clubs operate 100% with private funds."

In a duel which will be both sporting and economical, between the people of Montpellier and the Kielers, who will be able to stand out from the game ? "I have a hard time making myself an idea, Houlet breathes. Are we talking about the MHB which beat Barcelona or the one which lost in the Coupe de France against Paris ? The Kiel which drew in Berlin or which lost swept against Flensburg ? It's quite irregular but it will be a very open quarter between two former Champions League winners with a lot of question marks."

But the former MHB player (1994-1996) has his own idea of ​​the method to use to thwart the German plans. "What is certain is that Montpellier must not play it safe. Let them let go like they did in Barcelona and why not…", he slips.

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