EHC lose Derby, Bayern sweep, 1860 draw, and Unterhaching keep rolling
Panthers hold off EHC - Noah Clarke scored two goals as the Augsburg Panthers sent most of the 4,788 frozen fans home with a warming 2-1 Derby win against EHC München. The match was played at outdoor Curt Frenzel Stadium in sub-freezing temperatures.
"Augsburg were the better team, especially at the beginning of the match," stated Munich head coach Pat Cortina. "They were very disciplined. Our team was not bad, but we didn't do enough. We were guilty of watching them, to see how hard they would skate, we have to play our game."
From the opening face-off, both teams were up and down the ice, trying to get the upperhand. But shots were wild and action furious. Munich's Patrik Vogl's foul gave the Panthers the power play opportunity and they executed flawlessly, getting Clarke upfront and he easily beat Sebastian Elwing for the 1-0 lead.
Augsburg almost went up 2-0 right off the ensuing face-off but Elwing stopped the attack. EHC finally got back in the game when Bryan Schmidt evened things up shortly before the end of the 1st, but that would be the end of the guests' scoring.
Clarke scored again midway in the 2nd, the refs were not clear if it went in cleanly, but after checking the video tape, it was ruled a goal and the Panthers had their lead. The rest of the match was a standstill as both teams had the same number of shots and power play opportunities. But no more goals.
"Every game from here on in will be like this," explained Cortina. "we have 8 games left and we have to make sure we learn from this type of situation. All teams will be desperate for points so we have to tough mentality to stay on our game and be more ourselves."
EHC have a two week break due to scheduling quirks and Cortina has the agenda set. "During the first week, conditioning will be the focus, both work and rest will be a part of it. On February 8th, we will return and get ready with a game plan and go from there. If we use the break the right way, it will pay off. We should be rested and ready, and not rusty."
The win helped Augsburg get out of the last spot and one spot closer to the playoffs. "This victory was good for us, after our recent poor play," said Panther head coach Larry Mitchell. "The atmosphere was great, and goalie Dennis Endras delivered a solid performance for us."
Augsburg would like to get into the playoffs, as missing it would be disappointing for a team that finished second last year. Currently they are 4 points out of a pre-playoff spot. "We need to get up in the table," explained Mitchell of their plan. "we need a little streak of wins. Even the loss in Ingolstadt, we earned a point and it's worth it. Every point we can collect will help us."
Bayern beat Bremen, climb table - As Borussia Dortmund keep winning and secure their run to the Bundesliga title, FC Bayern München have set their sights on second place. Arjen Robben scored his second goal in as many league matches and Miroslav Klose iced the 3-1 victory on Saturday at Werder Bremen.
Since losing to Dortmund in week 7, the Reds have risen in the league table like a dot.com stock, from 12th and now to their current spot 3rd. With the automatic qualification spot for next year's Champions League only 3 points away, the news gets better. Bayern secured a spot in the German Cup (DFB Pokal) semi-final against Schalke in March with a 4-0 drubbing of Alemannia Aachen midweek. With important home matches against the teams they are chasing (Dortmund, February 26th and Leverkusen, April 16th) and the Champions League tie with Inter Milan in between, the timing could not be better for Munich to get back in form.
A factor in Bayern's struggles in the first half of the season was Robben missing from the lineup due to an injury that lingered from the World Cup finals. With his return, coupled with Mario Gomez's goal streak, Bayern have started to play with more confidence. "We're determined to put together a winning run, and even though all our matches are difficult, we simply have to win," said Robben after the win Saturday. He also scored in his debut last week at home and in the Cup match on Wednesday. It was his in-form goals that lifted Bayern to two titles and the Champions League final last spring.
They may not win the league title, but with their current run in all three competitions, Bayern may make things interesting this spring. Bayern are at Cologne this coming weekend and return home on February 12th to host Hoffenheim.
1860 draw vs. MSV Duisburg on Saturday - TMT's Mark Lovell reports
Bayern Basketball tame Tigers - Aleksandar Nadjfeji scored 17 points and Jonathan Wallace added 15 points as Bayern beat up Hannover Friday night 95-60. The difference was their defensive effort, especially in the 2nd quarter. Bayern held the Tigers to 2 field goals and 2 free throws to outscore their hosts 28-8. From there, the team cruised to their 12th consecutive win, 17th overall against one loss.
"We played a very good second quarter and came out strong from the dressing room at the beginning of the second half," said head coach Dirk Bauermann. "The solid practice we had this week and the performance tonight is an example that we are on the right path to get our rhythm back."
The ballers return home on Saturday as they host the Dragons from Rhöndorf. Tip off at 19:30 at Munich Square Garden (Olympia Eissportzentrum).
Haching avoid misstep before Champions League date - TSV Unterhaching host their next big match on Wednesday night, so they could be excused for looking ahead while playing on the road against a lesser opponent. Well, the lesser opponent was able to wake up the sleeping giants. evivo Düren took the first set 25-18 but Haching stormed back to take the next three sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-19) to avoid a major upset, winning 3-1.
"Matches here are always crazy," described TSV's head coach Mihai Paduretu. "I am satisfied with the result, it was important for our team to fight for the victory."
Next up for Unterhaching is the next round of the Volleyball Champions League against Jastrzebski Wegiel of Poland. First service at 19:00 at Generali Sport Arena.