Winning streak extended, knockout stage reached: Germany's handball players stormed into the quarter-finals at the World Cup.
Thanks to another really good performance, the team of national coach Alfred Gislason defeated the Netherlands 33:26 (15:12) and secured their place in the last eight with their fifth win in five games.
The man of the evening was once again Andreas Wolff.
With a number of spectacular saves, three saved seven meters and a catch rate of almost 50 percent, the goalkeeper put the German team on the road to victory in the first section.
In front of around 5,000 spectators in Katowice, playmaker Juri Knorr advanced to the best pitcher of a DHB selection that was once again convincing as a team with nine goals.
A nice side effect of reaching the quarter-finals: it also guarantees Germany participation in a qualifying tournament for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
In the battle for the semi-finals, Germany will face either Olympic champion France or European runners-up Spain on Wednesday in Gdansk.
Before that, the final main round game against Norway, who are also still without a loss, is still about winning the group on Monday (8.30 p.m. / ARD).
"Holland is a handball country that keeps getting better and better," Gislason warned shortly before the game on ZDF, but then made it clear: "Our goal is to beat Holland." This respect, but above all the great anticipation was his team to be clearly noted from the start.
In contrast to the previous World Cup games, there was still a lack of efficiency on the offensive in the initial phase.
But the DHB men made up for the initial technical errors and misses with a self-sacrificing fight on the defensive.
A primal scream from the keeper
Especially youngster Julian Köster offered a very strong performance against the lively Dutchmen together with Johannes Golla in the middle block.
And because Wolff also had a great day in goal, Oranje's short key players such as Dani Baijens (1.82 m), Magdeburg's Kay Smits (1.85 m) and star playmaker Luc Steins (1.72 m) came from Paris St. Germain barely unfold.
When Wolff first really appeared at the score of 4:4 and defused a seven-metre throw, all the tension was released with a primal scream from the keeper.
A primal scream that seemed to get the German offensive going.
Because as a result, the German team dictated the rhythm and pace of the game more and more minute by minute.
Whether because of the many seven meters or because of his ideas in controlling the game: it was Knorr who always took responsibility in attack.
It was almost inevitably he who scored the first German lead (5:4) after twelve minutes and also increased it to 13:10 shortly before the break.
After the change of sides, Germany made a dream start on the Katowice floor and screwed the result up to 20:12 (39th) with a 5:0 run.
While the numerous German fans were already chanting victory songs, some regulars like Knorr and the two wingers Lukas Mertens and Patrick Groetzki were now taking their first breather.
The game was decided.