Dhe German handball players couldn’t really be happy about entering the main round of the European Championship and left the floor with a frustrated expression on their faces. Despite a 21:23 (10:11) defeat in the dramatic group final against Spain, the DHB team trembled into the second phase of the tournament, but with 0:4 points the prospects for the rest of the final round are anything but rosy.
“Frustration prevails. We’re going to Skopje. But today we’re depressed about the way we played the game,” said national coach Markus Gaugisch. “We were tense and couldn’t find a solution. We need to work on that.” The best German thrower was backcourt player Alina Grijseels with six goals.
“Of course we didn’t want that”
In front of 300 spectators in Podgorica, the German team couldn’t stand the pressure and lost all chances for the European Championship semi-finals early on. Especially since the tasks against Romania, Olympic champions France and the former world champions Netherlands are not getting any easier. “We have zero points, of course we didn’t want that,” said Gaugisch.
After all, Xenia Smits averted the threat of the preliminary round with her goal 24 seconds before the end. “Of course we’re looking forward to more games and are happy that we don’t have to go home yet. But we can’t be satisfied with our performance,” said Smits.
Because Poland previously lost against group winners Montenegro by 23:26, the DHB selection was allowed to afford a defeat with a difference of two goals in order to progress. The knowledge of this starting position was obviously not good for the psyche of the German players, because the DHB team started very nervously in attack.
After nine minutes there was only one goal at 1:2. Technical errors and misses shaped the German offensive game. In the middle of the first half, Gaugisch brought his protégés together in a time-out when the score was 4:6 and asked them to be more calm and keep an overview.
The words of the national coach had an effect, because as a result there were fewer easy ball losses. But the defense was no longer so consistent. This was also due to the fact that Emily Bölk received her second time penalty in the 20th minute and was no longer used in the defensive block due to the risk of disqualification. However, we went into the half-time break just a little behind.
After the change, the German team made another false start and quickly fell behind by three goals. But then they equalized with a 3:0 run to 15:15. But the ups and downs were far from over. Again, Germany lost the ball slightly, which Spain used again in the middle of the second half to take a three-goal lead.
Strong nerves were now required, especially since last year’s fourth place in the World Cup did not let up and extended the lead at 22:18 to four goals for the first time. In the hot final phase, the German team came close again, but a turnaround was no longer possible.