Neuss (AP) - Before the World Cup dress rehearsal for the German handball players in the European Championship qualification against Austria, Alfred Gislason is required more as a crisis manager than as a national coach.
The debates about goalkeeper Andreas Wolff's sharp criticism of the World Cup cancellations by some teammates and the players' concerns about the planned admission of spectators to the finals in Egypt are making the 61-year-old Icelandic’s work much more difficult these days.
Above all, Wolff's verbal attack against the Kiel trio Hendrik Pekeler, Patrick Wiencek and Steffen Weinhold, who voluntarily refrained from participating in the World Cup due to the Corona crisis for family reasons, displeased Gislason.
«I am not satisfied that there is this discussion.
Andi is known for getting his opinion out there.
But that disturbs the preparation, ”said the national coach on Friday.
According to Gislason, there was no discussion with Wolff because of this.
"I have a lot of other tasks to do," he emphasized with a view to the Austria game on Sunday in Cologne.
There, the DHB selection, which will win a record bonus of 500,000 euros in the event of their third World Cup triumph after 1978 and 2007, can already buy the ticket for the European Championship in 2022 and gain further tailwind for the difficult mission on the Nile.
«Under normal circumstances, we would go into it with full concentration to win the game.
But I will test a lot in order to make progress with the team, ”announced Gislason.
This applies to both tactical and personal areas.
Christian Dissinger, Marian Michalczik, Antonio Metzner and Moritz Preuss, who were not used in the first leg last Wednesday (36:27), should get a chance.
In addition, after having overcome wrist problems, Captain Uwe Gensheimer will be there again.
The preparation for the World Cup finals from January 13th to 31st will also be overshadowed by the discussion about the 20 percent capacity of the four halls planned by the host.
The preliminary round matches of the DHB selection against Uruguay, Cape Verde and Hungary in Giza could be followed live by up to 1040 fans.
"Playing in front of spectators is absurd not only because of the additional health risks, also in view of the situation in our home countries, where people should not leave their homes as much as possible and only families can watch our games on television," said goalkeeping veteran Johannes Bitter the "Hamburger Abendblatt" (Friday).
A few days before the World Cup kick-off, there was therefore strong resistance against these plans among players.
"The European players' union EHPU wrote a letter to the Egyptian world association president Hassan Moustafa on Wednesday on behalf of the captains and all players of the European national teams, urging them to refrain from spectators during the World Cup," reported Bitter.
In the letter from which the “Mannheimer Morgen” quoted, it says, among other things: “We are extremely concerned about the Corona situation and the decision that viewers can take part in the games.
Our concern has increased due to the recent escalation in European countries.
For us, this raised concerns about the tournament. "
DHB Vice President Bob Hanning does not share these fears as long as there is a functioning hygiene concept for the audience.
"Then I have no problems with it," said Hanning the TV broadcaster Sky.
If he were allowed to allow 30 percent of the audience in Germany, "I would let them into the hall immediately," emphasized the manager of the Bundesliga club Füchse Berlin.
«All of my 19 Bundesliga colleagues would do it too.
Just because we are not allowed to and it is allowed in another country, I cannot condemn it. "
One thing is certain: The World Cup dress rehearsal against Austria will take place in front of empty stands instead of 20,000 fans.
"Normally we hope for such a game that the spectators give us momentum and say goodbye to the plane with a great atmosphere," said DHB board member Axel Kromer.
Since this is currently not possible, the focus is exclusively on athletic performance.
"We only focus on ourselves," said Gislason.
And Hanning emphasized: "We have neither unrest in the team nor in the environment."
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210108-99-946441 / 3
The German group in the European Championship qualification
Squad of German handball players
Schedule of the German handball players
Presidium of the German Handball Federation
Board of the German Handball Federation