Sunday, January 20, 2019
Even before the Handball World Cup it was clear that the German team will only be successful if they can build on a strong defensive. In the 24:19 victory against Iceland shows the team of Christian Prokop that the project has succeeded.
Aron Palmarsson sat on the bench and kept shaking his head. The top star of the Icelandic handball team was annoyed about a groin injury, which forced him to leave the field after 20 minutes. The playmaker of the glorious FC Barcelona had also observed from outside, as their own colleagues ran on, as they tried to find gaps in the German defense. And Palmarsson saw the Icelanders bouncing off the cover again and again. "The attack was too difficult," said the 28-year-old. He suspected that even with him on the field would not have worked with a victory against the Germans, but the defense of the selection of the German Handball Federation (DHB) was too impenetrable.
"Well, it's still better," said Patrick Wiencek after the game, so he did not want to talk about perfection. Wiencek still wore the sweat-soaked jersey, his eyes showing the adrenaline. The circle runner of the THW Kiel plays a decisive role for the fact that the German handball players can make legitimate hopes to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in their own country.
From now on, Wiencek and his teammates will face only better opponents than Iceland, but the knowledge of the working defense allows the fans to dream of more. "If they continue to play so well and maybe even better, then the Germans can become world champions," was also the conclusion of Palmarsson.
Only 22 goals per game
The German handball players have achieved something extraordinary. The team of Christian Prokop has built in Berlin, not far from the remnants of the Berlin Wall has its own defensive wall and already had to accept only 22 goals per game in the preliminary round. This wall has now transplanted the DHB selection to Cologne and compressed them again against the Icelanders. In phases, the attackers of the "Isis" simply could not keep up, so that Andreas Wolff could later say with a smile on his face: "That's almost boring for me because I'm not allowed to play any more."
The keeper of the goalkeeper was not so serious, because the goalkeeper of the THW Kiel had contributed at the end of the 60 minutes with twelve parades decisively to the success, which ensures that the Germans at least until Sunday evening, the main round group I with 5: 1 points lead. With a victory on Monday against the Croats, who in the evening with a success over Brazil initially pass the Germans, the DHB selection could already make the presumably decisive step towards the semi-finals.
Basis will then be again your own defensive, in which progresses with each match of this World Cup, the fine adjustment. Hendrik Pekeler and Wiencek form a harmoniously aligned inner block that knows how to combine the emotions of Wiencek with the intelligent, anticipatory defense game of Pekeler. In addition, with Finn Lemke, who came on the field in the final phase against Iceland, the Germans have a backup of international format. In addition to the three players from the defense center, the other players weave into a network that offers the opponent only very few gaps.
Behind the wall, front Fäth
Thus - and with the support of 19,000 spectators in the German handball temple "Lanxess Arena" - the Germans in the two remaining main round finalists against Croatia (Monday) and Spain (Wednesday) will be hard to beat. In attack, the DHB selection reached no world-class format, which, however, was tolerable given the dominance of their own defense.
After the game in which the Germans were ahead in the entire second half, but failed to settle decisively early, but no actor was awarded, who had put his mark on the defensive - but Steffen Fäth. The back-space player of the Rhein-Neckar Löwen wore the Germans in the attack with six goals and a dynamic, with which he created spaces for the teammates. "I think everyone in the handball world knows what skills Steffen has," said Fabian Böhm, who replaced Fäth in the left back space in the final minutes.
At the back, the Germans have a wall, in front a strong Fäth - no wonder that the 19,000 fans in the arena organized a huge break. "That was goose bumps all over the body today," Wiencek said of the mood in the arena. Lemke had never experienced anything "hotter", but does not want to be content with it. "There is still more," said the 2.10-meter defensive giant. Maybe that even applies to the German defensive wall in Cologne.