In the first semi-final match of the “Best-of-3” series, ALPLA HC Hard welcomes HC LINZ AG on Saturday 14 May 2022 at the Lakeshore Gym in Hard. The game starts at 6pm, and the game will be streamed live on LAOLA1.
With a 36:29 win at home against Adler of Sparkasse Schwaz Handball Tirol, the Red Devils finished the series 2:1 in their third and most important quarter-final match on April 30th and thus bought their last ticket to the semi-finals, as Stahlstädter of HC LINZ AG. Next weekend, Team Harder will continue on to the start of the “Best-of-3” semi-final series in a duel with Linz in the title race. The battle for the HLA MEISTERLIGA final begins with the first semi-final match between the Red Devils and Stahlstadter on Saturday evening at Harder Teufelsarina.
But not only the Red Devils fought a fierce battle in the quarter-finals. The quarter-final streak of HC LINZ AG in a duel with Bregenz Handball was also extended to a distance of three matches. After a 25:30 away defeat and a 32:31 home win, the Stahlstadt residents forced a third playoff, winning 28:26 on the Rieden Vorkloster handball court and were able to celebrate entering the HLA MEISTERLIGA semi-finals. This means that HC LINZ AG was among the top 4 teams in HLA MEISTERLIGA for the first time since 2010.
ALPLA HC Hard and HC LINZ AG met twice this season, in the regular season home and away HLA MEISTERLIGA. The record is 2-0 for Hard. The Red Devils managed to achieve complete success on home (31:27) and off (29:27) and beat Linz. The objective of the semi-finals is clear: stay safe in front of Linz, thus reaching the final!
Hanes Jon Johnson, ALPLA HC Hard Head Coach: “It is no coincidence that Linz reached the semi-finals. They played very well and intelligently against Bregenz in the quarter-finals. Our task will be to dominate Fizuleto, Babic and Cvetko and not only give everything we have, but go to our limits. If our defense is Consistent, focused and we managed to keep up the pace throughout the match, we’re in good hands. After the disappointment and the ÖHB Cup semi-final last Friday, we are very happy to be able to play again. All of our players are in good shape and on board, and we are very excited about the fencing” .
Lukas Schweighofer, ALPLA HC Fixed Axle: “We are very happy that the semi-finals will finally start on Saturday and then at home with our great fans behind us. A tough game awaits us. Linz has reached the semi-finals right, with very good shots in Lucijan Vizuletto and Tobias Svetko and an outstanding runner in Dejan Babic. But no The rest of the squad should be underestimated as well. It will be hard work, but we are convinced that with good coverage and a smooth attacking match on Saturday in front of our home fans, we can make it 1-0 in the semi-final.”
Linz wants more
After a thrilling victory in the third match of the quarter-finals at the Bregenz Handball Arena, Upper Austria also wants to have a say in the fight for a place in the final with the defending champions. The first game takes place in Hard, but the Linz folks can count on the roaring support of home fans: because their fan bus of more than 50 fans makes its way to Hard on Saturday. – All in blue: The club has specially produced Kempa shirts bearing the “gemmalinzavoigas” logo – the shirts are also available for fans to purchase in the home match.
The initial position is clear: Hard is the favorite in the semi-finals. The Furlbergers are not only champions, they have also won their two regular season games against HC LINZ AG. Even if the Harders failed in the ÖHB Cup semi-finals last weekend, the people in Linz know what their strengths are.
Coach Milan Vonjak: “There is no doubt that Hard is the favourite in every match. But as we did against Bregenz, we have to keep the pressure on Hard. It is also not true that we have nothing to lose. Because we have to lose the finals and under no circumstances do we want to. We will prepare intensively for the opponent, the atmosphere in the team is great, so I am sure we will be very focused and focused when we play this match on Saturday.”
Linz can count on the successful team from the quarter-finals, and with the away win in Bregenz they have already shown they can handle Vorarlberg’s background and the pressure of having to compete away from home. Moritz Bachmann, who had to retire prematurely in Bregenz due to a concussion, is back.
Moritz Bachmann: “I’m already almost 100 percent again. After the first difficult days and some craniosacral treatments, I’m fine again and back in full training. We know what’s at stake in the next few games and we all have one goal: the final.”
All the stars in Linz are decent, especially the interaction between Lucijan Fizuleto and hub Dejan Babic is an important building block in Linz’s game. In addition – as the goal was recently – the load in the attack could be carried from the shoulders of Fizuleto, in defense Sinisa Sironjic was increasingly used.
Diane Babich: “It will be important for us to be good in defense, and for our goalkeepers to hold up well as well, because this match will definitely win with a better defense. He plays hard physically, but we can face that. We can win on Saturday, I know that.”
HLA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINANCIAL TOURS
Game 3 (played only if there is a tie in the top three series): ALPLA HC Hard vs HC LINZ AG
Tuesday May 24, 2022 6:00 PM (If the other semi-final series ends after two games, the elimination time will be pushed back to 8:20 PM and the match will be broadcast live on ORF Sport+ and LAOLA1)
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