The Euro Hockey League will have a new champion this year as Dutch club Oranje Zwart and Germany’s Harvestehuder both progressed to the final of the competition for the very first time.
The Hamburg side were the first to take their place in the decider as they produced the comeback of the knock-out stages of the Euro Hockey League to defeat Racing Club de Bruxelles. Trailing 2-0 on the stroke of three-quarter time, Harvestehuder recovered brilliantly to win 3-2.
The German club, whose line-up includes former Loughborough Student and Bowdon player Richie Dawson-Smith, looked on their way out of the competition when Jonathan Becker’s pair of corner goals left them trailing. But, inspired by world player of the year Tobias Hauke, they replied with gusto with Michael Korper eventually potting the winner with six minutes to go. I
Harvesthuder got a glimmer of hope at the end of the third quarter when a corner was half-broken down but ultimately fell to Hauke who picked out the bottom corner with a low push. He subsequently picked out a sublime backhand pass to Xaver Hasun on the right of the circle and he arrowed in a thunderous drive to the bottom corner.
And Korper won it with six minutes left, eventually flipping home from close range amid a melee in front of Jeremy Gucasoff.
In the second semi-final, Oranje Zwart’s composed, controlled performance put them through to their first Euro Hockey League final, seeing off last year’s runners-up Dragons 3-0.
They never looked troubled from the moment they went ahead late in the first half with Jelle Galema opening the scoring before Mink van der Weerden and Gabriel Dabanch extended the lead to three in the third quarter. Galema finished off from Rob Reckers who held his balance superbly at the right baseline before bouncing the ball across goal where the Dutch international was waiting to finish off.
Van der Weerden applied the second with a powerful shot that Leroy and his post-man could do nothing about. Dabanch duly closed out the match with a spectacular reverse-stick finish from the left of the circle to make it 3-0. For Dragons, they now battle it out for third and fourth place with country rivals Racing Club de Bruxelles.
Finals – Match Schedule Monday April 21 2014
12 noon Racing Club de Bruxelles vs KHC Dragons
14.30 Harvestestuder THC vs MHC Oranje Zwart