Everyone seems to be watching handball right now. But not everyone knows when there are actually seven meters. Or why sometimes the clock is stopped. And when a foul is not a foul, but a foul foul. Even for the pros, their sport is sometimes hard to see through. But you still have us. Just in time for the highlight of the World Cup, just in time for the knockout games, we clarify your questions. That you always know a little more than your sofa or hall neighbor.

Who actually plays?

Let's start from scratch: One goalkeeper, six outfield players. That's the basic formation. The attack is set up in a semicircle, from right-winger to half-right, back-middle, half-left and left-winger, directly on the circle is the rotors. Each of them achieves goals differently: The longshooters play in the back area (eg Fabian Wiede). The one with the best jump, fastest legs and flexible wrists on the outside, to whirl the ball from an acute angle to the goalkeeper (eg Uwe Gensheimer). Circling runners are packages that often rejuvenate against two or more opponents (eg Patrick Wiencek). There are different formations in the defense: all around the circle (6: 0), with a preferred player (5: 1), with two (4: 2) and in a kind of Christmas tree (3: 2: 1). And those who like to do bungee jumping without rope in their free time, stand in the gate.

Why do they change so often?

Because there is no limit. Thus, attack and defense formations have formed. Often it is the attackers from the backcourt who run when the ball possession of the opponent on the bench. For them come defensive specialists, mostly runners, like the German 2.10-meter man Finn Lemke on the field. They have only one task: to prevent goals. The goalkeepers also alternate in the game. Although there is a number 1, in the German team it is the krakenarmige Andi Wolff, but also Silvio Heinevetter gets his minutes when Wolff needs a break or sometimes has not held a few balls in a row. Goalkeeper changes in front of seven meters are popular, to unsettle the shooter and to block the gate by a mentally fresh goalkeeper.

Why is there sometimes a seventh fielder?

This is a tactical variant to have one player more in attack on the field. For the coach takes for the attack the goalkeeper from the field, the own goal is then empty. The variant was introduced in 2016 and is unpopular with older coaches. It carries the risk of catching a single goal in the event of losing the ball. On the other hand, on the other hand, she also offsets a minor during a two-minute penalty. "If nothing else works, I help my team," said Germany coach Christian Prokop, a fan of this variant.

How many steps with the ball in the hand are actually allowed?

Right after the ball was caught: three. Then the players either have to give up or start bouncing. If you then hold the ball in your hand again, three more steps are possible. In step fault the possession changes.