The Handball World Championship from January 11th to 29th in Poland and Sweden will again electrify millions of fans.
The answers to the most important questions:
Where are the games played?
With Poland and Sweden, there are two World Cup hosts for the second time since 2019 – when Germany and Denmark hosted the tournament together.
Venues in Sweden are Jönköping, Malmö, Kristianstad, Gothenburg and Stockholm, where the new world champion will be determined on January 29th.
Venues in Poland are Plock, Kraków, Gdansk and Katowice.
There, the DHB selection wears their preliminary round games and, if they progress, all games in the main round.
How is the World Cup mode?
As in 2021, there will again be 32 teams.
There are eight preliminary round groups with four teams each.
The top three from each group qualify for the main round, in which four groups of six teams each continue to play.
The first and second place finishers in each main round group advance to the quarterfinals, with the winners fighting for the medals.
The losers will play out places five through eight, which are relevant in terms of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Who is Germany playing against?
The DHB selection has to deal with Asian champions Qatar, Serbia and Algeria in the preliminary round group E.
“We want to win the group and take the maximum number of points into the main round.
If you make a mistake in the preliminary round, you can hardly make up for it,” says national coach Alfred Gislason.
If they advance in the second phase of the tournament, the Olympic bronze medalists Norway, the Netherlands, North Macedonia and Argentina are the potential opponents of the German team.
Who are the World Cup favorites?
Several teams can hope for the title.
First and foremost are world champions Denmark, Olympic champions France and European champions Sweden.
Spain, Norway and Iceland are among the extended group of medal contenders.
What chances does Germany have?
Alfred Gislason's protégés see themselves more as outsiders.
"We're not in a position to aim for a medal because we're not among the favourites.
We mustn't dream, we have to remain realistic and concentrate on the preliminary round games," says the national coach.
The last great successes came in 2016 with the European Championship triumph in Poland and Olympic bronze in Rio.
Since then, the DHB selection has remained without precious metal at all major tournaments.
Who shows the games?
All German performances can be seen live on traditional television on the public broadcasters.
ZDF shows the preliminary round games against Qatar and Algeria, ARD broadcasts the game against Serbia.
In the main round, ARD is on the ball twice, ZDF once.
Mainz would also broadcast a quarter-final and a final with German participation.
A semi-final with the DHB selection would be shown on ARD.
In addition, the Internet provider "sportdeutschland.tv" shows all games of the final round - albeit for a fee.
At Eurosport there are 15 World Cup games without German participation.
What about Corona?
In the two host countries, all corona protection measures have been suspended for some time.
Accordingly, the halls may be used to their maximum capacity.
The world association IHF has nevertheless decreed some corona rules.
All World Cup participants - players, coaches, officials - must be vaccinated or recovered and undergo a PCR test before the start of the World Cup.
There is also the requirement for quick tests after the preliminary and main rounds.