Handball World Cup: handball players before “mad game” – warning from the captain

Handball World Cup
Handball players before “mad game” – warning from the captain

The German handball players celebrate after beating Qatar.  Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa

The German handball players celebrate after beating Qatar. photo

© Jan Woitas/dpa

The German handball players face the first difficult World Cup test. Against Serbia, the DHB selection must stop their inexplicable phases of weakness. A defeat could have serious consequences.

Now the German handball players can no longer allow themselves any dropouts. Captain Johannes Golla issues a warning to his teammates even before the groundbreaking World Cup preliminary round game against Serbia, backcourt player Philipp Weber even expects a “mad game” for the group victory.

The starting position is clear one way or the other: If you win against the strongest opponent in Group E, you would already be perfect for the main round. A defeat, on the other hand, could have serious consequences for the further course of the tournament in Poland and Sweden have.

“I believe that we need a top performance in all areas,” said golla in Katowice, Poland. “We can no longer allow ourselves these weak phases.” What the 25-year-old meant exactly was the second half of the World Cup opening win (31:27) against Qatar. Although the DHB selection against the weak Asian champions had everything under control for a long time, they almost threw their clear lead out of hand after the break.

What Golla also indicated with his warning: This must not happen again against the Serbs. “If we want to go far in the tournament, then we know that we have to take everything from the group with us – of course also against Serbia‘ said the runner.

Points are taken

Because the top three teams from the group of four advance, the German team would make it into the main round can still easily create even in the event of a defeat. However, the points from the preliminary round are taken into the main round. Serbia would certainly go through if they beat Germany.

Which would mean that the DHB selection would take the two minus points from this game when moving into the next phase. A mortgage that could take revenge later in the finals. Right winger Patrick Groetzki was asked whether the duel was already a final. “Yes I think so.”

What the Serbs are capable of was already indicated in their two World Cup preparation games against Sweden. Serbia narrowly lost the first game against the European champions with 34:35, in the second the favorite was defeated with 30:28. The squad is filled with internationally experienced players such as Petar Djordjic and Lazar Kukic.

“Other Caliber”n is waiting

“The Serbs have a brutally good team. They will make life difficult for us. We have to be fully there, otherwise it will be difficult,” said backcourt player Kai Häfner. Or as director Juri Knorr put it: “There are Champions League winners, German champions, everything.” On Sunday, a “different caliber” than Qatar is waiting.

For a long time everything had looked like a calm performance by the young German team against the Qatari. Until misthrows, gaps in defense and technical errors crept in. A pattern that national coach Alfred Gislason already knows from the past. Neither the Icelander nor his players can explain why these dropouts occur again and again.

That’s a good question, said Captain Golla. In any case, Gislason is currently working intensively on giving the team fixed behavioral procedures for these situations. These processes have not yet worked against Qatar. They have to against Serbia. “We have to be fully concentrated for 60 minutes,” the 63-year-old demands of his players. “If we can do that, we have a good chance of winning the game.”

Another strong goalkeeper performance is essential for this. The DHB firmly expects Andreas Wolff, who was outstanding against Qatar, to be back in goal on Sunday despite his calf injury. “I’m expecting him in training this afternoon,” said sporting director Axel Kromer on Saturday. In any case, the nomination of another goalkeeper is currently not planned.


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