Germany at the Handball World Cup: the next gala performance

Germany at the Handball World Cup: the next gala performance

The German handball players are continuing their success story at the Handball World Championship with bravura. With the sovereign 33:26 victory against the Netherlandswhich had previously been identified as a tough touchstone, the Germans also won their fourth game and advanced early to the quarter-finals.

As against Serbia, the German team needed a few minutes to get over their nervousness. Two slight mistakes didn’t calm things down, but rather helped the Dutch team to quickly take a 2-0 lead. Their strengths were well known: “They have an incredibly fast backcourt and play at high speed,” Gislason warned before the game. They proved both with their first actions, then the selection of the German Handball Federation (DHB) caught on.

So far, the Icelandic coach has always optimally adjusted his team to the opponent, and this time too. In defense he brought on Julian Köster from the start, who is two meters tall but is still very quick on his feet. Together with captain Johannes Golla, he formed the inner block, which was not tempted by the small Dutch, remained defensive and did not allow any gaps. The circle pass from Luc Steins, a dangerous weapon from Oranje’s nimble playmaker, remained dull, and Köster intercepted the ball several times. The Gummersbacher was also an asset in attack, found the circle himself or hit powerfully from the back.

However, the outstanding man was once again game designer Juri Knorr, who also didn’t slide into the game as smoothly as usual, but quickly found his rhythm. Knorr was the linchpin in the German team, used his colleagues, found the circle or scored himself – and was the top scorer with ten goals. The Germans got a better grip on the Dutch – also because Andreas Wolff again offered a world-class performance in the German goal.

In the second half, Germany pulls away

Holland’s Dani Baijens had declared the opponent the “clear favorite” in advance. Steins even claimed that the World Cup was another learning curve for his nation and that Germany was one of those “world’s best” teams to look up to. Together with their top scorer Kay Smits, who is under contract with the German champions Magdeburg, they form the backcourt trio that Gislason warned against and that played a key role in the rise of Oranje in recent years. Of course, there was no class difference in the first half, but the DHB selection was the better team in a very intense game and deservedly led to the change with 15:12.

The second half is told more quickly: a surprising shot from Knorr, a fine play from Patrick Groetzki safely converted and a powerful goal from Köster, in between three saves from Wolff and the Germans pulled away at high speed. The defense became an almost insurmountable wall for the Dutch, who continued to run tirelessly with the giant Wolff behind them, the German team rushed to 20:12. It only got tighter when the Serbian referees, who didn’t exactly whistle for the favorites in the second half, interspersed a few petty decisions against the Germans. But even that was quickly overcome, especially since the substitutes once again integrated smoothly.

Spain or France is the opponent in the quarterfinals

With the surprisingly clear success against Holland, the Germans have reached the quarter-finals, on Monday it’s up to Norway to win the group. The Scandinavians had also booked the knockout stage early with an easy 30-17 win over Qatar, who showed signs of breaking up in the second half. And they were able to spare their managers – to know that they were in full possession of their strength in the group final against the German team.

Opponents in the quarterfinals will then either be Olympic champions France, or Spain, also one of the tournament favourites. It is not yet clear who will play who. Because like Germany and Norway, Spain and France have won all their games so far and are the group winners in the last group game in a direct comparison.

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