Handball invades Munich

THW Kiel will try to beat HSV Hamburg after losing the last two Super Cups.  Photo courtesy HBLMunich - Over the past years, our fair city has started to offer more top level professional sports than just football.  Ice hockey.  Basketball.  Volleyball.  Golf.  And there's always been top level skiing and other winter sport offerings.

But there is a sport that has not yet invaded the professional scene in the Bavarian capital - handball.  For some sports fans, handball is a sport that shows up every four years in the Olympics.

But for those who follow the sport, and play it at their respective clubs around Munich and the region, tonight is a chance to watch the best Germany has to offer as the TOYOTA Handball Bundesliga (HBL) will return for the second consecutive year to play their Super Cup tonight at the Olympiahalle. 

Last year's league champs HSV Hamburg will take on domestic cup holders THW Kiel.  These two clubs will meet for the fourth consecutive year, the fifth time in the past six, in the season opening event.  Last year, HSV outlasted Kiel to win 27-26 and it propelled them to the title.

Kiel have won the Super Cup five times, the last time back in 2008, beating, yes, Hamburg 33-28.  But in 2009, when the event moved to Nuremberg, Kiel were both league and cup defenders however it was HSV who won 35-28.

"If one were to watch the last year, they would think this matchup is similar to the 'El Clásico' in Spain," admits Hamburg's Pascal Hens.  "We haven't met them in the Champions League (like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have), and if we do, then it can reach that level."

One would think this northern rivalry would be better suited to be played closer to home.  But the league is not only hoping to grow the game, but connect families.

"I have a personal connection to Munich," revealed Dominik Klein of Thiel.  "My wife played many years in Ismaning and comes from Oberschleissheim.  So it's great to see friends and family when we come each year.  But there are also many handball clubs in and around the city and our league can connect to them."

The city of Hamburg is currently suffering through a tough start to the football season, as HSV have yet to record a win.  The handball version will look to continue their recent domination over Kiel and give the port city something to cheer.

The Super Cup starts at 20:00 CET at the Olympiahalle, tickets still available at many outlets around the city.

Past winners of the Super Cup

2006 - HSV Hamburg def. THW Kiel 39-35

2007 - Kiel def. Rhein-Neckar Lions 41-31

2008 - Kiel def. HSV 33-28

2009 - HSV def. Kiel 35-28

2010 - HSV def. Kiel 27-26


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