National coach Alfred Gislason sat lonely and with a blank look in his chair when captain Uwe Gensheimer gathered the deeply disappointed German handball players on the floor around him.
After the second tournament bankruptcy at 28:32 (13:16) against European champions Spain at the start of the main round on Thursday in Cairo, the DHB selection has only minimal chances of making it to the quarter-finals and no longer getting through to their own hands.
With 2: 4 points, the German team, for which Timo Kastening was the best thrower with seven goals, only occupies fourth place in Group I and now has to hope for a sporting miracle.
"After 15 outstanding minutes in the second half, we played with too much risk and ruined ourselves," criticized Gislason.
“We had enough chances to close the game.
That is bitter.
With more routine we could have won. "And Gensheimer said:" That hurts brutally.
It is difficult to digest this defeat because there was a lot more in it. "
The DHB selection now threatens to return home early.
In the fight for a ticket for the knockout round, the European Championship fifth of the previous year has to win his final duels against Brazil on Saturday and Poland on Monday and at the same time on mistakes of the still undefeated top duo Hungary (6-0) and Spain (5: 1) hope.
Served: national coach Alfred Gislason (l.) After the game
Source: dpa / Sascha Klahn
After the bitter 28:29 against Hungary at the end of the preliminary round, Gislason demanded a significant increase in his protégés, especially on the defensive.
"We have to do a much better defense, then we get a better goalkeeping performance," said the 61-year-old Icelander shortly before kick-off.
That worked quite well in the initial phase.
Andreas Wolff, who barely got a ball against the Hungarians, fended off the first two throws.
But it quickly became clear that the German inner block was once again unsafe.
World Cup newcomer Sebastian Firnhaber walked on the verge of disqualification after two quick time penalties and had to go to the bench.
The seasoned Spaniards came again and again freely and took the lead with three goals at 9: 6 (15th) for the first time - also because the DHB team missed too many chances in the attack.
The lack of efficiency in the first half was the major shortcoming of the German players, who repeatedly failed in the European champions' goal due to the outstanding Rodrigo Corrales.
Wolff did not come close to this performance, but was often left alone by his front men.
A loud outburst of anger from the 29-year-old, who had to vacate his place for Johannes Bitter in frustration shortly before the break, didn't help.
Strong start in the second half
With the restart, the DHB selection started with much more conviction - both in attack and in defense.
After 38 minutes, the Gislason team took the lead again for the first time at 20:19.
This lasted for the time being thanks to a more variable attacking game, to which youngster Juri Knorr also contributed, and a much better exploitation of chances.
In addition, Oldie Bitter was in a brilliant mood in the German box.
The 38-year-old not only thwarted several great opportunities, including a seven-meter, but also repeatedly motivated his people in front.
The reward was a three-goal cushion (25: 22/43.).
But then the German team went through a minute-long period of weakness, which was mercilessly punished by the Spaniards with a 6-0 run.
The DHB team did not recover from this setback.