West Wien took the Austrian men’s handball championship for the first time in 30 years to say goodbye to the upper house. After the 25:24 home win, the Viennese also won on Wednesday at HC Linz with 30:26 (14:15) and thus made the final 2:0 in the “best of three” final series. The Upper Austrians missed their first title since 1996.
The Viennese say goodbye to the domestic top league for financial reasons. The reasons for this include the lack of a home hall and sponsors who have dropped out. “I’m at a loss for words, I’m so happy, it’s such a nice feeling. We wrote a little fairy tale,” said Wilhelm Jelinek happily. Vienna goalie Constantin Möstl also agreed with him after a strong performance on Wednesday: “We finally did it again, unbelievable. Now I’m champion and I haven’t realized it yet. I’m proud of the team. The last 15 minutes decided it, it went back and forth the whole time. Nobody really played better, we were just more present at the end.”
The fact that the club will now stop playing professionally was a big downer for Möstl and all of his teammates. “It’s so sad that it’s over now. West Wien’s last game, but we’re fucking champions, so awesome, yes.”
The hosts were accordingly depressed. “It was a unique chance for me to make it with Linz, that would have been a huge milestone, it hurts like hell,” said Alexander Hermann. “We were too much outnumbered, couldn’t play our systems. We also failed again and again at the front because of Möstl.”
Linz coach Milan Vunjak congratulated the Viennese: “Yes, they are deserved champions. I won’t be a bad loser, but we were outnumbered a lot in the first quarter of an hour in the second half. We lost a lot of strength and concentration there.” Nevertheless, one is extremely proud of the season.
West Wien coach Michael Draca was overjoyed, even if he was struggling with emotional chaos. “It’s hard to describe, on the one hand you can’t believe you won. I know what we’ve sacrificed for this title over the past few years, my boys have earned it with hard work.” To the much-quoted fairy tale, said the trainer. “It’s a fairy tale with a happy ending, but also so much pain in my chest.” He cried. “I have no idea why, whether it’s out of frustration or luck,” he also addressed the professional end of the club.
West Wien started well, took a 2-0 lead and increased to 8-5 in the first half, but then the hosts managed to equalize and at 12-11 they took the lead for the first time. It remained so tight until the break, Linz went into the dressing room with a one-goal lead.
Even after a change of sides, the guests managed to get a three-goal lead up to 23:20. Once again the hosts came close to one goal (22:23), but then the Viennese pulled ahead to 28:22 until the 53rd minute of the second half. The Upper Austrians could no longer break this lead.
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