Dhe German handball players started the hot phase of the World Cup with a gala performance. In the first main round game, the DHB selection sat down on Thursday Argentina with 39:19 (24:11) and took another step towards the quarterfinals.
John GollaPatrick Groetzki and Lukas Mertens were the most successful throwers of the German team with five goals each in front of around 2,500 spectators in Kattowitz, Poland.
This warmed the team of national coaches Alfred Gislason best possible for the next game on Saturday (8:30 p.m. in FAZ live ticker for the Handball World Cup and on ZDF) against the Netherlands (4:2). This game should not only be much more difficult, but also have a decisive character in view of the targeted knockout phase.
Germany is unstoppable
The German team needed a few seconds to warm up, but then they literally swept over the Argentines. After less than a minute succeeded Andrew Wolff in goal the first brilliant parade. This action by the 31-year-old was, so to speak, the starting signal for a brilliant performance by the DHB selection. After seven minutes, Germany was already leading 6:2, after 15 minutes Argentina’s coach felt compelled to call his second time-out. Goal, defense, attack: everything worked.
The South Americans’ coach covered his face several times before the break in disbelief. No matter what his team tried, they couldn’t stop the German Express. Even their internationally highly decorated playmaker Diego Simonet could hardly find their way into the game. Because the German team just wouldn’t let him.
The defensive around captain and defense chief Johannes Golla fended off almost everything. Whatever throws came through, Wolff parried. And on the offensive, as so often in this tournament, the again strong Juri Knorr conducted.
In the first round alone, the DHB selection converted 86 percent of their chances. In addition, Wolff showed an outstanding performance in goal. After the break, Gislason then relied on Joel Birlehm, who has also been strong at this World Cup. “It was certainly not to be expected that we would get into the main round after this preliminary round,” said DHB sports director Axel Kromer. “So far, everything that could have worked has worked.”
That’s why Gislason could allow himself to rest some of his regular players in the second 30 minutes. Not only goalkeeper Birlehm came in now, the Icelander changed practically his entire starting line-up. This gave players like Djibril M’Bengue, Rune Dahmke, Luca Witzke and Jannik Kohlbacher more minutes to play, which could also be important in view of the duel with the significantly stronger Dutch team.
“You don’t have a chance without Messi,” chanted some of the German supporters, given Argentina’s lack of a chance. In fact, the DHB selection never decreased. In the end, one could almost feel sorry for the South Americans.