His back to the field, Alfred Gislason squats in front of Philipp Weber.

It's the 28th minute of the last German game at this European Championship.

Gislason's seven is in defense.

Weber sits on the bench waiting to be substituted on when the Germans are back in attack.

Gislason puts his forearms on Weber's knees, he now comes very close to him.

Tutoring from the national handball coach.

Weber is Gislason's main outfield player.

With him, the threads come together.

Or not, as is often the case in the main round.

Another playmaker is missing from the national team after 15 corona-related failures.

Gislason coaches Weber.

Calm him down.

Not just him.

Also a Johannes Golla, a Patrick Wiencek experience the caring Gislason.

Who is so different from the one in Kiel, where he thought along with every attack and flinched when something went wrong.

Like electricity running through his body.

He pushed the players together.

He got upset about everything.

He doesn't like these pictures of himself at all.

There were none from Bratislava.

During this turbulent EM, Alfred Gislason chose a self-description: "I don't fight, I don't whine, I accept it.

We come from an area where you had to react quickly.

It was about being fast or being dead.” Gislason is from Akureyri in northern Iceland.

His reference to the Vikings, who had to be quick or died, does not come across as vanity.

He means it.

U-turn in the “decade of handball”

And he proved it in Slovakia – without it being a matter of life and death, of course.

Gislason, the sovereign, found an answer to every question.

It wasn't easy for him: "I was sad every time the players got sick and couldn't play anymore."

As a club coach in Magdeburg and Kiel, Gislason rarely had to convince in a situational way.

He left that to his stars.

He rarely had to build in talent.

Two years ago he did not compete with the German Handball Federation (DHB).

As a "difference trainer" he should lead Wolff, Pekeler, Gensheimer, Weinhold and Co. to medals.

Then came the pandemic.

Breaks, resignations, injuries and disappointing tournaments followed.

And in the middle of the "decade of handball" the DHB made a U-turn.

Gislason should now form a team for the home tournaments in 2024 and 2027.

Results: secondary.

When this Gislason leaned against the panorama window on Tuesday evening, which separates the draughty media area of ​​the Ondrej Nepela Arena from two ice surfaces, he wanted a conciliatory result, not only because of the 30:29 against Russia. Gislason laughs, he beams. Despite everything, he enjoyed it. He says: "We had the discussion that the players didn't want to play for Germany. We experienced the complete opposite here. We have created a lot of positive things out of necessity. It was nice to experience that with the team.”

The young Julian Köster, the older Christoph Steinert, how the nominated followers David Schmidt, Lukas Stutzke, Daniel Rebmann throw themselves in – that made the national coach happy: “Many who otherwise didn’t get the chance did well.” Nevertheless, they are prospects vague. Corona failed the plan to build a future first seven. This team was a snapshot and for Gislason it will be about trusting the youngsters, not flirting with the return of the established. Köster, Wagner, Klimpke, Witzke: Something is growing back. Gislason called her.

Four wins, three losses, a place in the top eight - considering the circumstances, that's a success.

Give up, Gislason never wanted to go home, it wasn't an option either: "If we had withdrawn, we would have been broke," said DHB President Andreas Michelmann to the "Sportbuzzer".

In a way, Gislason and his upholders saved the association.

Upcoming tasks will hardly get any easier – the World Cup qualification is waiting for mid-April.

Two games are about the tournament in Poland and Sweden 2023 and the opponent could be Portugal, Slovenia, Belarus: tricky.

Alfred Gislason is 62 years old;

in May 2021 his wife Kara died as a result of a brain tumor.

Gislason spoke about it;

the sadness, the loneliness on the large property in Wendgräben near Magdeburg.

He now wears Kara's wedding ring on a chain around his neck.

In the game, he sometimes turned the ring in his fingers.

Perhaps there is a hint of new mildness here.

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