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Meike Schmelzer is in the World Cup quarter-finals with the German team

Photo: Henning Bagger / dpa

Germany's women's handball team continued their winning streak at the World Championships in Scandinavia and reached the quarter-finals ahead of schedule. With the 31:21 (14:13) in the second main round match against outsider Serbia, the DHB selection also secured a ticket for the Olympic qualification tournament in spring.

In front of 5000 spectators in Herning, Denmark, the team of national coach Markus Gaugisch celebrated their fifth win in five games. The best German thrower in front of 5000 spectators was Antje Döll with five goals. Jubilarian Emily Bölk also impressed with four goals in her 100th international appearance. "It's awesome," said Gaugisch, and continued: "We're mega happy. That was the first goal. We can now put a check mark behind that. We're here at a World Cup tournament, now we're looking ahead mercilessly."

With 8-0 points, Germany are the only unbeaten team at the top of Group III, and on Monday (20:30 CEST/Sportdeutschland.TV) they will face title contenders and co-hosts Denmark for group victory. In the fight for the medal games, co-hosts Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro or Croatia are possible German opponents in the quarter-finals.

Germany initially unfocused

Without co-captain Alina Grijseels, who was rested after a horse kiss, a solid performance was enough for the German team to defeat the already eliminated Serbs without much effort. The absence of playmaker Grijseels was noticeable, there was a lack of calm and structure in attack in the first half.

Captain Bölk opened her anniversary game with the first goal of the game after just 33 seconds. But sloppy finishes, misplaced passes, technical errors in attack and sleepiness in defence quickly upset Coach Gaugisch. "Stop the shit of crisscrossing the ball. Full throttle into the depths," he said during a timeout midway through the first half.

After that, the German game got better, Bölk and Co. turned a 5-7 deficit into a 13-10 lead within ten minutes. But because goalkeeper Filter did not get hold of the balls as she did in the main round opener against Romania on Thursday (24:22), Serbia played their way back to within one goal by the break.

In the second half, Sarah Wachter was allowed to play for Filter (four saves) in the German goal. At first, this did not change the changeable German appearance, but the physical superiority of the Gaugisch team became noticeable as the game progressed. In addition, Wachter kept a clean sheet for almost eleven minutes, so that Germany pulled away to 22-16 (46th).