Thursday, November 30, 2023

Euro Hockey League: Bloemendaal men underline Dutch club dominance

Bloemendaal 1 (Teun Beins) Rot-Weiss Köln 0

Bloemendaal became the first ever Euro Hockey League Men’s club to win the title for three times in succession as they got the better of Rot-Weiss Köln for a second successive season in Monday’s final. It was the fourth time in the last five editions that the Dutch powerhouse had won the clubs’ showpiece.

Just Teun Beins’ 21st minute penalty corner stood between the sides at a rain-drenched Wagener Stadium, a big tussle between two top club sides in a match which failed to turn into a classic to end another Easter hockey extravaganza.

Bloemendaal made most of the play in the first half and could have been more than a single goal up but for the genius of Vincent Vanasch.

As it was, the only goal came after a barrage of penalty corners. From the sixth of them, Tim Swaen flipped the ball behind his back to Teun Beins who whizzed a low shot into the bottom right of the backboard.

Vanasch pulled off a true wonder-save to deny Tom Hiebendaal as the Dutch side attempted to put more daylight between the sides but it remained 1-0.

Rot-Weiss’s first major chance in Q3 when Antheus Barry’s skidding ball across the goal and Maurits Visser did well to react with a diving stick in front of him.

But, as the rain teemed down, it became hard for either side to build up a head of steam with the game becoming a big battle between the 23 metre lines.

As time wore on, Rot-Weiss pushed on harder and harder but the Bloemendaal defence was immaculate, not conceding a single corner in the contest and limiting the Germans only to half-chances.

So Bloemendaal continue their remarkable run of three successive titles – a sixth in total – and an unbeaten run that goes back to 2015 in games they have played in the EHL. For Rot-Weiss, it is a third final defeat in the past four editions.

In the third place match, a hat-trick of penalty corners from Tanguys Cosyns saw Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles win their first ever EHL Men’s medal as they raced away from Atlètic Terrassa.

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