The German national handball team celebrated a successful debut in the European Championship. Against an unpleasant opponent from Belarus, it took an increase in performance in the second round to be successful.
The DHB selection won on Friday evening (January 14th, 2022) in the first group game with 33:29 (17:18) and above all knew how to convince offensively. In defense, captain Johannes Golla and Co. revealed some problems.
Germany starts with Klimpke in goal – and with problems
As expected, the German team started without Lukas Zerbe on the right winger, but there was the first surprise on the floor at the beginning: Youngster Till Klimpke started between the posts, Andreas Wolff took a seat on the bench. The second, slightly smaller, surprise was that the defensively strong Christoph Steinert started on the right wing position instead of Timo Kastening.
At the beginning there was not much to see of the much-vaunted defensive strength of the German team and Klimpke didn’t get a hand on the ball either. Because the Germans made unprepared shots and inaccuracies in front, the score was 2:7 after ten minutes from the DHB’s point of view -Teams. Gislason took his first break and replaced Wolff.
Only four saves in round one
Whether it was the presence of the giant goalkeeper or the speech by the national coach: it got better. Kai Häfner and Co. went on the offensive more clearly, got time penalties and then used the resulting gaps more consistently. The well-rehearsed team from Belarus made a few more mistakes, there were simple goals against – and at 11:10 after a good twenty minutes the German team was back in the game.
However, the Belarusians showed themselves to be solid, remembered their strengths and repeatedly found their outstanding circle player Artsem Karalek, who the German defenders never got defended in isolation. At the break it was finally 17:18. All four goalkeepers used made four saves together – only one was due to the Germans.
It was a target shooting in which the Germans did not seem to work well in terms of assignment to pivot and coordination between block and goalkeeper. “It was difficult. We found it difficult to get into the game in attack and defense and didn’t get Karalek under control in the first half,” explained Gislason after the game, but conceded an increase in performance to his inner block made up of Patrick Wiencek and Johannes Golla. when he “sent Simon Ernst to warm up”.
At the beginning of the second half, Wolff got into the encounter better and thus not only brought his team into the tempo game, but also to an intermediate sprint. The strong Kai Häfner and Co. showed themselves to be accurate in attack even with the threat of time wasting. After 40 minutes the score was 25:21. “Outstanding, Kai”, the national coach acknowledged the performance of his right-back, who scored a total of eight goals and was the best scorer with Marcel Schiller, during the timeout taken by the Belarusians. Coming from the Icelander’s mouth it’s almost effusive.
But the Germans could not pull away. Gislason mostly relied on the experienced backcourt with Philipp Weber, Häfner and Julius Kühn – they did a good job, but coach Iouri Chevtsov’s opponent showed that he was likely to be the strongest opponent in the group. In the last ten minutes it was 28:26.
Condition benefits for the Germans
In the final phase, the German defense acted a bit more offensively and forced the Belarusians to go far. They visibly hurt them – in terms of condition, Germany was superior to the opponent from the back, although Gislason only changed a little. The victory should have been even clearer, but Weber and his colleagues missed one or two chances. On Sunday (February 16, 2022) the first match will continue against Austria.