Flensburg return to Szeged as new rivalry is born

SG Flensburg-Handewitt won the 2018/19 season in Germany while MOL-Pick Szeged finished as a runners-up in Hungary. 

The sides have met only four times before this weekend’s VELUX EHF Champions League clash. However, there is a link between the teams – Bogdan Radivojevic, who was there when Flensburg achieved their biggest international success in 2014: winning the EHF Champions League. 

Szeged and Flensburg do not have a long history in common. Although the sides faced each other in the group phase last season, those matches were only their third and fourth rendezvous. Still, for the Hungarian club it was historic, as they left the court with two points for the very first time against this opponent. After the battles, the all-time record is now three to one for Flensburg.

The schedule for Szeged is more challenging in the beginning of VELUX EHF Champions League this season. After the hosts of Saturday’s clash beat Barça (31:28) at home, they visited Paris Saint-German HB and returned with a loss (30:25). 

In the meantime, the German champions acquired four points: two against Celje (24:25) then another two against Elverum (26:19). With their 100 per cent record, Flensburg are among the three group A teams (PSG, Aalborg) who are yet to lose any points.

In the domestic league, Szeged have won all five of their matches, while the German title holders suffered two losses – the last one against the unbeaten Hannover on Thursday – next to one draw and four wins. 

Radivojevic might be one of the keys to building a streak against coach Maik Machulla’s squad. The Serbian wing joined Szeged during the summer and is ready to help his team versus his former club. 

“The key is definitely our concentration – we just to have focus during the whole 60 minutes and do our best. With some of the best fans of the world, we can achieve everything,” highlights the newcomer.

Only a few months after Radivojevic moved closer to Serbia, he already feels the difference. 

“It is a great feeling to be here in this team and in this town, and it is also good to play with all those world-class players. Szeged is one of the best teams in Europe and you can learn a lot of things about handball here. The people are nice and love handball. Flensburg is a lovely, small city, however, my hometown is now closer, as well as my friends,” says Radivojevic. 

The 26-year-old right wing was part of the Champions League winning side with Flensburg in 2014, when they beat THW Kiel in the final.

“This is definitely the nicest memory for me from Flensburg. It was a great competition and a huge win. Also, I met my wife in Flensburg, so I can thank these times for a lot of things,” said Radivojevic. 

The battle between MOL-Pick Szeged and SG Flensburg-Handewitt will start at 17:30 local time on Saturday September 28, live on ehfTV.com.  

TEXT: Bela Müller / cg