It was perhaps the loudest moment of this handball World Cup when Jannik Kohlbacher threw the 31:29 against Spain in the last minute. It was clear: Germany would also win this third game in the World Cup main round, 19,000 Cologne hopped and roared, as if they had to bring the next-door flowing Rhine to foam. The DHB team drew with this victory for the first time in twelve years again in a World Cup semi-final, undefeated. (Friday, 8.30 pm, ARD)
Both teams had not gone with all their strength to the game, as the players later honestly said. Even before that, it was clear that Germany would only have to take the group victory in the event of a high defeat. But the Spaniards were not ready for that, they did not care for them at all, they were already eliminated anyway.
Foreign players Patrick Groetzki and Uwe Gensheimer met at the beginning, both had not played well against Croatia. And Patrick Wiencek blocked three of the Spaniards' balls in the first five minutes alone. You could see that they also wanted to win this game and "drive to Hamburg with a good feeling," as coach Christian Prokop put it in one of the breaks. By half time it was 17:16. In the European Championship finals in 2016, the Spaniards threw only 17 goals against this German defense throughout the match, so it was not all that serious. All saw it, except goalkeeper Andi Wolff, who marched to the bank after ten minutes because there had been an unnecessary two-minute penalty for one of his front men.
In the second half, the Germans pulled away, up to four goals was the distance, most fell from the backcourt or from the circle. Silvio Heinevetter, who came to Wolff in the middle of the first half, showed important saves as the Spaniards were about to overturn the game. But the lead held, Germany beat Spain and plays against Norway on Friday. For all who are only now watching the World Cup: Here are the five things you should know about the German team now.
The goalkeepers and the defense
Germany has the best defense of the tournament. Although they allowed against Spain more litters than in the games before. But then there is still one of the two goalkeepers. If Wolff, whose parades gave his team the victory against Croatia, needs a break, comes Silvio Heinvetter. He was on the verge of breaking up against Spain, especially in the important phase, when his front men became nervous. Always the whole bank jumped after a held ball and clenched his fists. Add to that Heinevetters great strength to be able to play passes like a football quarterback. The pass over the half-field on the forward sprinting Matthias Musche six minutes before the end was such a. Heinevetter would throw a ball probably by passing cars on a six-lane road. The two German goalkeepers could become the decisive factor.
Or it will, as in the whole tournament, the defense. Patrick Wiencek talks to Donald Trump as a wall piece, blocking and blocking and blocking. You can see that he and Hendrik Pekeler train together in Kiel every day, they know each other's steps, they understand each other. Wiencek is - albeit tall and strong - nimble on his legs. With small steps he is the one who moves and directs the defense in the center, whether in the 6-0 formation, or, as against Croatia, in the more offensive 3-2-1 variant. With the German defense stands and falls the result of this tournament, even if the Spaniards broke through frequently in the last game of the main round. Mostly when Wiencek was not in the field.
Goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter recently told a story from the cabin. The national coach called his defensive dunes Finn Lemke suddenly: "Finni". Nobody called him that. When he asked Prokop why Finni now, he said, "Since I like you." It may be a side note, but even in the botched EURO 2018 Lemke was not initially and then only nachnominiert. Team and coaches have come closer, they are now one unit.
It's been a year since players talked about resignations should Prokop continue. And now? Everyone can see it: Prokop calls the opinion of its leaders in the time-outs, instead of dictating. So far, he has been correct in the nominations, even if Patrick Groetzki would be a substitute for right-winger. But Prokop wanted more power in the back room, which pays off so far. And the game with the seventh man, who can come on the field for the goalkeeper, and who had cost him the European Championship 2018, was one of the key moments against Croatia. In the preliminary round against Serbia, there were still whistles when the test went wrong. Those who know him well, like Stefan Kretzschmar, admire him for not being resentful now that it's going on, but for emphasizing his human qualities. As calm as he was up to now, he should stay in the upcoming hectic moments, when the whole World Cup can be in seconds on the loose.