Dutch club HC Bloemendaal have won the Euro Hockey League thanks to a remarkable 5-4 Final defeat of 2007-08 champions UHC Hamburg on Sunday. The European showpiece was watched by a sell-out crowd at H.C. Rotterdam who were treated to some truly exceptional hockey by two of the strongest club teams in world hockey. Incredibly, UHC Hamburg fought back from a four-nil deficit, but Bloemendaal held on for victory to claim their first elite tier European title since 2001. It was heartbreak for UHC Hamburg, but HC Bloemendaal were deserved winners of the second Euro Hockey League.
EHL FINAL: UHC Hamburg 4-5 HC Bloemendaal
The Final of the 2008-09 Euro Hockey League was always going to be an exciting affair, but no-one could possibly have predicted a nine goal thriller. The capacity crowd were in full voice long before the match got underway, with a huge number of supporters from both Hamburg and Bloemendaal having made the journey to watch their team try to become European Champions. It was the Bloemendaal fans who were cheering most though when they surged into a 4-0 lead after just 20 minutes, making many people believe that the match was effectively finished. Dutch international Ronald Brouwer scored the first two goals from close range, the first coming from a penalty corner with the second arriving courtesy of a sensational reverse stick pass from Jamie Dwyer. The Australian Olympic Gold Medal winner was in inspired form, and soon put his name to the score-sheet with a powerful drive from the left before Teun de Nooijer made the score 4-0 with a tap-in. At this point, most teams would have crumbled, but UHC Hamburg were not quite ready to relinquish the EHL title that they won just 12 months ago. The German side pulled a goal back through veteran forward Phillip Sunkel, giving hope to their supporters in the crowd, but Bloemendaal’s Olmer Meijer made the score 1-5 with a brilliant penalty corner effort. Despite this blow, Hamburg soldiered on and found goals from Marco Miltkau (2) and Patrick Breitenstein to set up a dramatic final 13 minutes. UHC pressed hard for an equaliser, but H.C. Bloemendaal held on to win the Euro Hockey League title – their first win in Europe’s elite competition since 2001.
Earlier in the day, H.C. Rotterdam produced a spectacular display of hockey to thrash Belgium’s KHC Leuven 8-1. The win secured a third place finish in the Euro Hockey League, the second time in two seasons that they have achieved that feat.
Video highlights of both matches can be found on the home page of www.ehlhockey.tv.
Inspirational de Nooijer wins MVP award
Bloemendaal captain Teun de Nooijer, who inspired his team to their first Euro Hockey League title, has been named as the winner of the EHL Most Valuable Player Award, Presented by ABN AMRO. De Nooijer was in sparkling form during the EHL Final, being heavily involved in a number of the goals as well as scoring one himself. The three-time WorldHockey Player of the Year had the pleasure of receiving his award from Chris Vogelzang, Board Member of ABN AMRO Bank.
The EHL Most Valuable Player Award Presented by ABN AMRO was judged by an expert panel, consisting of Roelant Oltmans (FIH coach), Wiert Doyer (Chairman, EHF Clubs Committee), Nick Irvine (Eurosport hockey commentator), Richard Stainthorpe (hockey journalist & EHL web editor), and Carola Meyer (Member of the EHF Executive board). Congratulations to Teun on both his individual award and Bloemendaal’s success in this season’s Euro Hockey League.
For more information about the Euro Hockey League visit the tournament website - www.ehlhockey.tv .
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