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Our #hyloathletes have been putting in strong performances once again this week. We take a look back at the last seven days’ events and competitions featuring our athletes, teams and clubs.

SV Elversberg secure another season in the 2. Bundesliga

On Saturday afternoon, it became mathematically official that SV Elversberg had definitively achieved their major season goal of staying in the league. Following the defeat of Hansa Rostock and the remaining matches for the teams at risk of relegation, the Saarland team can no longer be relegated. 

The mood on Sunday (5 May 2024) at SVE’s home game against Hertha BSC at the URSAPHARM arena on Kaiserlinde was as boisterous as you would expect. After achieving their goal for the season on home turf, coach Horst Steffen’s players created a true party atmosphere. More than 9,500 fans in the sold-out home stadium celebrated a fantastic 4:2 home win for SVE over the ‘Old Lady’, the icing on the cake of an exceptional promotion season before it has even drawn to a close. Captain Luca Schnellbacher contributed two goals to the win, Paul Wanner scored another to boost the high-spirited celebrations, and fan favourite Kevin Koffi rounded things off with a final goal to put the score at 4:2. More details in our post-match report.

After 32 days of play, Elversberg are tenth in the table with 43 points and can now plan for another season in Germany’s second professional football division. SV Elversberg have followed two successful years of promotion straight through to the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga with another season of inspiring, appealing offensive football and created a stir in the footballing world. 

On Saturday (11 May), SVE are being hosted by 1. FC Nürnberg for the last away game of the season, before then enjoying their final home game on 19 May against Karlsruher SC to round off a fantastic year. Congratulations, SVE

Füchse Berlin back on the road to success

With two vital wins during the past week, Füchse Berlin are successfully back on track, after initially appearing to lose a little momentum in the final part of the season. 

On Tuesday evening (30 April 2024), Füchse Berlin won the second leg of their EHF European League quarter-final away against HBC Nantes, scoring 30:37 (16:18) in front of 5,000 spectators. Following 33:33 during the first leg the previous week, coach Jaron Siewert’s team have now qualified to join the final four in Hamburg at the end of May and potentially defend their title. The match’s top scorers were Lasse Andersson and Hans Lindberg, with nine goals each. Füchse’s goalkeeper Dejan Milosavljev (13 saves) was once again on captivating form and gave the team a strong backbone. 

The final four, which will be held on 25 and 26 May 2024 at the Barclays Arena in Hamburg for the first time, will see the defending champions from Berlin line up against league competitors Rhein-Neckar Löwen for the semi-final on Saturday. SG Flensburg-Handewitt will face Dinamo Bucuresti in the other semi-final.

Füchse remain unbeaten at home in the Handball-Bundesliga (HBL). On Sunday (5 May 2024), the capital team were able to win a LIQUI MOLY HBL home game against VfL Gummersbach 29:26 (16:12) in front of 8,735 spectators in the Max-Schmeling-Halle. This allowed coach Jaron Siewert’s team to secure more vital points in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The game’s top scorer was Hans Lindberg with ten goals. Berlin’s world handball player of the year Mathias Gidsel scored seven goals in this game, equalling Korean player Kyung-Shin Yoon’s Bundesliga record of 248 field goals scored this season. The fact that he achieved this without needing a single seven-metre penalty showcases the Danish handball player’s exceptional skill.

Füchse is now heading off to the international cap break at second place in the table. The Berlin team’s next LIQUI MOLY HBL game is on 18 May. The team will then head to face TSV Hannover-Burgdorf for an away match. 

BIKE AID – losing the yellow jersey on the final stage in Benin and gaining valuable experience

Despite a podium finish, in sporting terms the Saarland team had a disappointing end to their cycling adventure at the Tour du Benin in West Africa (30 April – 4 May 2024).

The Tour was a stress test for the team right from the outset. First came a stage win and a yellow jersey that were then taken away due to the leading group being misrouted. Then there was another yellow jersey win the day after, only for it to be stripped again by the race organisers late in the evening. On the third day of the Tour, the yellow jersey was finally secured, but it came down to just a few seconds. There were bonus seconds available in the daily intermediate sprints and at the finishing line, so competition was fierce. Yoel Habteab was wearing the yellow jersey before the final stage, but was only two seconds ahead of second and third place.

The final stage ran from Agbangnizoun southwards to the Gulf of Guinea coast. It ended 154 km later in Cotonou, the largest city in the country.

The young team of Leslie Lührs, Máté Balázs, Jonas Beck and Philip Meiser rode determinedly for their captain. But ultimately it came down to the sprint, with Moroccan cyclist Achraf Ed Doghmy winning the stage and thus the crucial bonus seconds. Yoel Habteab had already won the climbing jersey at the Tour du Rwanda and the Tour of Mersin and is not a sprint specialist. The bonus seconds put him down to fourth place in the stage results, leaving him in third place overall in the final rankings.

Despite the disappointment about losing the yellow jersey, the Saarland team’s trip to Benin was still a fantastic experience. ‘As German cyclists, it was our first trip to Africa. First of all we need to process what we experienced and learned. But it has already left our mark on us, and made us think. Seeing how people live in this heat with hardly any access to clean water changes how we look at our lives at home’, Philip Meiser from Hirzweiler noted.

Things continue for Team BIKE AID on 15 May with the Tour of Hellas in Greece.

First win of the season in a new-look car for Hamadeh-Spaniol

The Deutsche Rallye-Meisterschaft’s ‘Green Hell’ was the main attraction for the second of a total of six stops in the DRM Nationals. The Rallye Sulingen (3 and 4 May 2024) saw four stages in the former Cold War special munitions depot known as the ‘IVG site’.

Saarland rally driver Tarek Hamadeh-Spaniol and his co-driver Henry Wichura travelled to Sulingen for the second race of the Deutsche Rallye-Meisterschaft Nationals with a car clad in new colours: the familiar Citroën C2 Challenge gained an entirely new look and now gleams in primarily red, white and dark grey. 

The Saarland and Berlin duo secured the top time in the first special stage (SS) with a lead of ten seconds, showing that the new look had an inspiring effect. The next two SSs also went perfectly, putting the team in first place for the NC4 class at the end of the day, and they were able to continue at the same pace during the Saturday stage.

Some unexpected events on Saturday afternoon provided a fair amount of excitement.

‘I have never seen anything like it in all my years. On both the first and second runs of the Barenburg special stage, our car stopped accelerating. What made this unusual was that it happened twice in the exact same, entirely unspectacular left-hand bend. If you remember that the vehicle worked like clockwork for 149.9 kilometres of SS and then went on strike twice within a metre of the same spot, you might start believing in magic. Fortunately, we reacted quickly. We left the racing line and switched the emergency stop switch off and back on. Once it was restarted, our Citroën began working perfectly again’, Tarek explained about the lost time in Barenburg.

Despite this loss of time, the lead they had built up to that point was enough to win the NC4 class and thus gain the maximum haul of 30 points for the DRM Nationals rankings. ‘After our low points score in the Ore Mountains, this is the response we needed to establish a foothold in the championships. Next up is the Rallye Mittelrhein and the Saarland-Pfalz Rallye, two home races that we are really looking forward to’, the defending champion from Saarland said.

Fantastic end to the European championships for German gymnasts in Rimini

The female gymnasts of the German gymnastics team are back with a smile from the European Gymnastics Championships in Rimini (2-5 May 2024). Germany’s young women’s team finished in sixth place in the team competition on the Adriatic coast on Sunday (5 May), with a score of 152,930 points.

The German squad started well, despite Janoah Müller having a few small issues during her floor routine. Following solid performances on the floor and vault, including a high score for Karina Schönmaier, the team was in fifth place at the halfway point. Helen Kevric once again showed her prowess on the uneven bars, keeping the team in fifth. Silja Stöhr and Karina Schönmaier put in good performances. Despite some issues on the balance beam, their final apparatus, the team finished a strong sixth. Marlene Gotthardt showed nerves of steel. The 15-year-old stayed on the beam, as did subsequent competitor Janoah Müller, who had one moment when she had to fight to stay on. Silja Stöhr was last on the beam and rounded off Germany’s good results with a very strong performance.

Gymnasts Helen Kevric, Karina Schönmaier and Marlene Gotthardt had already performed well in the apparatus finals on the previous day (Saturday 4 May). Kevric finished in an impressive fourth place on the uneven bars, whilst Schönmaier and Gotthardt took fifth and seventh in the vault finals. Despite strong competition and nerves, the three young gymnasts put up strong competition with impressive performances. 

Women’s head coach Gerben Wiersma was very satisfied with how the European Championships went overall: ‘We knew that we were lining up with a very young team. We were not necessarily expecting to come sixth in the team final and also reach three individual finals.’

Saarlouis Hornets achieve third sweep in a row

With two clear home wins, the Saarlouis Hornets continued their winning streak in a 2. Bundesliga Süd-West 1 double-header last Saturday (4 May 2024) against the Tübingen Hawks. 

The Hornets’ defence was once again the key to the success of another fantastic home weekend. Pitcher Peter Mick conceded nothing whatsoever in the first game and the defensive play worked perfectly. Offensive work went well with lots of steals and good hits, giving the Saarlouis baseball players a magnificent 4:0 victory.

The second game of the double-header went almost exactly the same. The opposing pitchers initially could not gain a foothold, allowing the Hornets’ offensive to establish a clear early lead. With a focused performance, the Saarland players were then able to gain their second win 10:0 via the mercy rule after a two-run single by Jonas Grün. 

This means that the Saarlouis Hornets remain at the top of the table with a 7:1 record. After two weekends off, next up the Hornets have a home game on 25 May against last year’s southern champions, the Stuttgart Reds 2. 

The Saarlouis ball park will be hosting two national baseball games between Germany and France on 18 and 19 May. 

Tim Hellwig finishes third in France

Top triathlete Tim Hellwig, competing in the 1. Bitburger 0,0% Triathlon-Bundesliga as part of the HYLO® Team Saar,  put in a strong performance at the Grand Prix de Triathlon in Fréjus (France) to kick off the French Division 1 club championship. He achieved third place in the individual rankings with a time of 50:38 minutes over the sprint distance (750-metre swim, 20-kilometre cycle, 5-kilometre run). Tim was only overtaken by Alex Yee, the British Olympic silver medallist, and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand. Like Tim, they are both top favourites to win at the Olympics in Paris.

For Hellwig, this race represented welcome status check en route to the Olympic Games. Tim is currently in Girona, Spain with some of his Saarbrücken training group, to avoid our poor April weather. This has not gone entirely to plan, as Spain has also seen two weeks of rain – which made the detour from Girona to Fréjus a particularly perfect change of pace and an opportunity for the German triathlete to evaluate his performance at a top international race. 

Tim will now spend another two weeks training in Spain before heading to Italy and the holiday island of Sardinia, where he and the Deutsche Triathlon Union (DTU) squad will compete in the third race of the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) in Cagliari. This will then most likely be his last individual competition before the highlight of the season, the Olympic Games in Paris. 

We are looking forward to upcoming appearances from our #hyloathletes and wish all of our HYLO® partners much luck and success.

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