The scenery was reminiscent of a family reunion. Christoph Steinert chatted with Petter Overby, who also plays in Erlangen, while Philipp Weber high-fived his team-mates from Magdeburg. And the handball players under contract in Kiel also found time during the warm-up to talk about their experiences at the European Championship so far.
Then they faced each other this Friday evening at 23:28 (12:14) from a German point of view against Norway as opponents.
Seven of the handball players who played for Norway in Bratislava earn their wages in the Bundesliga, the rest either have experience in Germany or have connections through the various international club competitions. In addition, there is even a family connection, since left winger Rune Dahmke not only played together with Norway’s superstar Sander Sagosen at record champion THW Kiel, but is also related to him by marriage.
After the kick-off, however, all these relationships faded into the background, and it was a hard-fought game at the beginning. After a mixed performance in the preliminary round against Poland the day before, Christian Berge’s team was able to build up their own self-confidence and with a 42:31 win they set the goal record at a European Championship.
The mood suddenly changes
However, the DHB selection did not make it that easy for them, especially because the defensive was compact from the start. Simon Ernst held the center together with Johannes Golla, Steinert accepted the duel well with Sagosen, and Johannes Bitter offered outstanding support in goal.
In this way, it was possible to force the counter-attack game and put the Scandinavians under pressure with their own means. After ten minutes, the German team had achieved a 5:3 lead, which, however, was carelessly given away by unnecessary ball losses, so that the momentum shifted in the direction of the Norwegians – on the field and in the stands. After the spectators dressed in black, red and gold had initially set the tone, the red and blue camp now took over.
Bitter, who had already made nine saves by half-time, gave the spectators additional motivation and was rewarded with a standing ovation. Even with the support, however, it was not possible to act more consistently against the only corona-free team in this tournament. Little changed after the break, despite a few dedicated approaches.
Many familiar faces
With two defeats in the main round, it is bad for the Germans to reach the semi-finals. Mainly because the Spaniards – albeit not as confidently as expected – won against Russia with 26:25 and Sweden easily defeated Poland with 28:18. This put Alfred Gislason’s team in fourth place in Group II, level on points with Russia.
In the two upcoming games against Sweden (Sunday, 6 p.m. / ARD) and Russia (Tuesday, 6 p.m. / ZDF), not only every point counts, but also every goal. Incidentally, the German team will once again meet many familiar faces against Sweden. There are seven Bundesliga legionnaires in Glenn Solberg’s current squad of 16.
Source From: Tagesspiegel