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Kölner Haie and Düsseldorfer EG again spectators in the title fight

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Kölner Haie and Düsseldorfer EG again spectators in the title fight

SYou don’t really like hearing that in the Rhineland. But if you take a closer look, the Kölner Haie and the Düsseldorfer EG resemble each other far more than they would like. This happened again at the weekend. On Friday, DEG captain Alexander Barta stood glassy-eyed at Magentasport’s TV microphone and had to explain his team’s play-off end. That was the case for Haie captain Moritz Müller on Sunday. He also had red eyes, he also commented on the end of the season.

And they sounded similar too: “We played a great series,” said Barta. “We had a good thing going this year,” said Müller. Although the end was bitter, they could be satisfied with the season in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL), after some meager previous years, a place in the upper midfield and the leap into the quarterfinals were progress.

Some dramatic defeats

And yet both clubs felt that more could have been done. Which must also be the claim when you have eight championships on your letterhead. If you’ve been waiting for the ninth for more than two decades, but you’re still one of the greats of German ice hockey.

But club names don’t score goals. That’s what players do, and the best only occasionally earn their money on the Rhine. So Düsseldorf lost out in the quarter-finals against Ingolstadt with a 4-1 win, while Cologne lost 4-2 against Mannheim. Because they – another parallel – sometimes lost their games dramatically. On Friday they led by three goals each before conceding crucial goals in the final seconds.

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What sets the old rivals apart: their approach. The DEG tends to rely on young players who were trained in Germany. A whole dozen under-25s were in the squad. The KEC, on the other hand, featured 14 experienced men who learned to skate in North America. But that went down well with the audience: 14,286 fans greeted the sharks on average. Record.

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