Ice-cold Spaniards show Germany the limits at European Handball Championships

As of: 01/20/2022 7:47 p.m

The German national handball team got off to a good start in the first European Championship main round match against Spain, but then made too many mistakes, which were mercilessly punished by the strong opponent.

The corona-weakened DHB team lost on Thursday evening (January 20th, 2022) at 23:29 (12:14) against the defending champion, but with three games left in the main round group they still have chances of reaching the semifinals.

Surprise guest Steinert: Worst game so far

“That was definitely our worst game so far. That was a really wild time before and today we made a lot of mistakes. We weren’t that effective up front and there was too much to survive against such a good team.” , Christoph Steinert summed up the game perfectly on the Sportschau microphone.

After the Corona chaos with the many late nominations and the twelve players who have meanwhile tested positive there had been slightly better news for the Germans than for the Spaniards right before the game was started.

While Joan Canellas and Ian Tarrafeta tested positive, Steinert was able to travel to the hall immediately before the game started and strengthen Alfred Gislason’s team. After several negative corona tests, the nine-time goal scorer from the Poland game was allowed to leave the isolation again.

Germany starts strong

At the beginning, Gislason relied on three very mobile and intelligent players in the backcourt in Julian Köster, Philipp Weber and follower Fabian Wiede and did without some throwing power. Accordingly, the DHB selection was constantly looking for the close-range zone with quick starts, surprising passes and playing with the line runner.

That worked really well right away. Defensively, the Germans could be happy that goalkeeper Johannes Bitter was able to defuse one or two free throws by the Iberians. Jordi Ribera’s team often played the DHB cover apart relatively easily and the veteran from HSV Hamburg had to save.

However, Johannes Golla and Co. played well overall and played on an equal footing with the defending champion, who had also finished the preliminary round with three wins. After twenty minutes it was 11:10 for the DHB.

Spain’s cover increases – backlog at the break

Shortly before the break, however, it was more sluggish, the Spaniards had defensively adjusted to the German approach, stole one or the other ball and forced Wiede and colleagues to throw from a distance, which did not lead to success. But because the commitment in defense was right now, the Spaniards could not punish DHB’s long lack of goals as mercilessly as in other duels in the past. At half-time the scoreboard was 12:14 from a German point of view.

Lots of mistakes, little penetration – and an ice-cold opponent

The German team took the offensive problems with them into the second round. When a good throwing opportunity was created, Spain’s world-class goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas was there and the Iberians played almost flawlessly and very patiently in attack.

Gislason relied on the additional field player – but that didn’t help either. The mistakes piled up and were punished coldly. After a quarter of an hour without a goal of his own, Patrick Zieker scored the long-awaited thirteenth German goal in the 39th minute from the left wing. But the Spaniards already had 19 on their account.

Hard to overcome Perez de Vargas

The ripped-off title candidate couldn’t take this clear lead and effectively downplayed his boot. Eight minutes before the end of the game, the national coach took another break at 19:27 – the young team seemed bewildered and hardly put up any resistance in defense. However, the timeout obviously had an effect and the team had character.

Perez de Vargas remained a spoilsport and prevented even more result cosmetics. 16 saves, a catch rate of over 40 percent – a brilliant achievement. The best German shooters were Zieker and Golla with four goals, Jorge Maqueda scored six goals for Spain.

We made too many mistakes up front The Germans continue on Friday with the second main round game against Norway, which has not yet lived up to its role as one of the favourites.


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