Vienna (dpa) - The German handball players have struggled to win the main round of the European Championship.
Only the once again strong goalkeeper Johannes Bitter found his top form in the tough 26:22 (13:10) victory against the Czech Republic on Wednesday evening in the Wiener Stadthalle. Already on Thursday morning (11:00 a.m.) the DHB selection flies to Stockholm, where on Saturday (4:00 p.m. / ONE and sportschau.de) the game is about fifth place against Portugal and thus against a significantly stronger team than the Czech Republic.
The best thrower of the team of national coach Christian Prokop was backroom player Philipp Weber with five goals in front of around 5500 spectators. It was clear to both teams from the start that this game was all about nothing. Only the 37-year-old Bitter presented himself strong, who, before the break alone, blocked 44 percent of the Czechs' litters with spectacular reflexes. Captain Uwe Gensheimer, on the other hand, again performed poorly.
His teammates also found it very sluggish, but this was not significant because the Czechs were too bad. The absence of defender Patrick Wiencek due to injury also had little impact at first because the German team was not faced with major difficulties on the defensive.
But still the problem area became clear again. Before the game, Prokop had emphasized that he already sees the game as preparation for the Olympic qualification tournament in April in Berlin. And even if the Czechs can only be classified as second-rate internationally, the backfield players made numerous technical mistakes in the positional attack. The opportunity utilization was not good either.
However, many players may have found it difficult to motivate themselves for this game. In view of the already full handball calendar, the trip to Sweden on Thursday will certainly not make every national player euphoric. The Bundesliga continues on February 1st. Perhaps this is also why Prokop will increasingly use the players against the Portuguese who have so far not played so often at this European Championship.
Left wing Gensheimer could then also get a longer break. The captain played surprisingly weak against the Czechs and missed the best opportunities. "At the moment it is their turn because we are not taking advantage of our clear opportunities," said Prokop during a break in the first round. Already in the 23rd minute he took Gensheimer down and brought Patrick Zieker for the first time. Gensheimer also failed to convince in the second half. But that was true for almost all players in the DHB selection, who have to increase again against the surprisingly strong Portuguese at the tournament.
Squad of German handball players
Game plan of the German handball players
Presidium of the German Handball Federation
Board member of the German Handball Federation
The German main round group at the EM