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Handball World Cup: How has the handball since the German Home World Cup 2007 changed


Twelve years is the last German World Cup triumph back. Coach, league, the game itself - a lot has changed in the handball, says Holger Glandorf, world champion of 2007.

When you think back to the 2007 Handball World Cup in Germany, what goes through your head?

The mustache of national coach Heiner Brand? Germany's semi-final thriller against France? Or the splendor of witch Henning Fritz?

Maybe it was another experience that you thought of. Probably it will not have been the beginning of the tournament, when the DHB selection started with a 27:22 against Brazil in the World Cup and not yet was foreseeable that they would win the world title. The handball fever rises in this country usually only when the German team comes far. The 2007 final saw 16 million people in Germany on television - a dream rate, a few weeks ago unimaginable.


Holger Glandorf at the 2007 World Cup

"The mood before the World Cup was certainly restrained, nobody knew exactly where we stand in international comparison and just after the defeat in the preliminary round against Poland, she was not better," says Holger Glandorf the SPIEGEL. Glandorf was one of the pillars of the team's triumph in 2007 and today, 35 years old, is under contract with the current German champion SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

Currently this is similar to the uncertainty. After two ninth places in the past major tournaments, the German team is not among the top favorites at the World Cup in their own country and Denmark. In Berlin, where on Thursday the World Cup with the game between Germany and Korea is opened (18.15 clock, live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE, TV: ZDF), is still little felt by World Cup enthusiasm. Whether or not an "euphoric wave" develops, as Glandorf experienced in 2007 after the preliminary round, depends to a large extent on the German performance.

The DHB hopes for enthusiasm, probably also to further stabilize its membership. After the home World Cup, the number of members rose to 847,406 in 2009 - record. In the following years, however, the DHB lost almost 100,000 members, in 2017 the total number was 756,907.

But now to the parallels and differences between then and now. How about the coach, the quality of the league and the game itself - what has changed in world handball since 2007?

Old coach vs. today's coach

The differences between the DHB and the trainer position are particularly clear. The world champion coach of 2007 is Heiner Brand: An experienced coach who has already won numerous national and international titles as a player. "This years of experience in the handball business is priceless," says Glandorf about his former coach; whose trademark, the Schnäuzer, is considered legendary and can often be seen even today: The now 66-year-old fire is regularly heard at TV appearances or in specialist journals.


Heiner Brand

Today's DHB coach has no glorious playing career behind him, even no trademark like the Schnäuzer by Brand. For Christian Prokop it is often said that he is inexperienced. The 40-year-old has been working in the coaching business since 2003, albeit only at a higher level since 2013. Prokop is considered a tactician; as one who can develop a team.

The problem: Prokop can only prepare the national team for a major tournament in just a few courses. In the last Euro 2018 Prokop's plan failed to let faster handball play, the DHB selection was overwhelmed and flew as defending champion already in the main round out. Prokop is under pressure and a 14-year-long era, as Brand has marked the DHB, is probably only further conceivable when Prokop scored a good result at the World Cup and in the semifinals. Read an analysis of Christian Prokop here.

Old league vs. today's league


Home World Cup 2007

Another difference between then and now: the quality of the league. In the summer after the 2007 home World Cup, THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt were faced in the final of the Champions League, the German league was then the best in the world, says Glandorf, "especially since numerous world stars have played in the Bundesliga" , This refers to professionals such as the French superstars Nikola Karabatic and Thierry Omeyer or Pole Slawomir Szmal. In six out of seven years after the 2007 home World Cup, the respective World Handball Player of the Year played for a German club. Bundesliga match days were meetings of the world elite.

That's history. For the past three years, the best have been drawn to France, Poland, Hungary or Macedonia, where the top clubs are run by investors, salaries are higher; the physical strain is lower because the leagues are smaller. France now has the strongest league.

The result: For two years in a row there has been no German team in the Final Four of the Champions League. Uwe Gensheimer (Paris Saint-Germain) is currently the only German professional in the World Cup squad, who has recently played for the victory in the premier class. Even the German champions Flensburg missing German national players who are nominated for the World Cup. The current titleholder is dominated by players from Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Old game vs. today's game

These three countries are also among the title candidates in the World Cup. Scandinavia is experiencing an upswing. Most top players of these nations are also under contract with top international clubs.

These are stars of the Scandinavian nations and other international top players:

You should pay attention to these international top stars

Denmark is one of the favorites in the Handball World Cup in Germany and Germany. Mikkel Hansen - arguably the strongest left backspace player in the world - has a large share in this status. The 31-year-old was already world-class player in 2011 and 2015, triumphed at the 2016 Summer Olympics with Denmark and now wants to ensure his country's first World Cup victory. At the European Championship a year ago, the professional from Paris Saint-Germain scored 43 goals and was the second best scorer of the competition.

Incidentally, Denmark is not just Mikkel Hansen. Rasmus Lauge Schmidt also decisively shapes the Danish team. The strength of the 27-year-old is his versatility: He convinces as a scorer and Passgeber, at the European Championships 2018 was the professional from the backcourt the best scorer with 40 goals and 36 assists. Lye is also strong in the ball conquest. Most recently, the Dane won the German championship with Flensburg. Bitter: He leaves the club in the summer towards Hungary to Veszprém - another indication that the German league has lost in international top stars in importance.

Norway has been among the strongest nations in world handball since finishing fourth at the 2016 European Championship. This is due to coach Christian Berge, who led the team to runner-up championship two years ago. But that's also because of Sander Sagosen . The 23-year-old is still considered a top talent, but with his 80 international appearances, he actually belongs to the experienced professionals. Sagosen is a scorching playmaker, he also sets the pace in the club at Paris Saint-Germain. Exactly according to this type of player longs the German team, which at the home World Cup on Martin Strobel (32 years, second division player, technically strong, European Championship winner 2016) must fall back on the back center position.

May we introduce: Here throws the Lionel Messi of the handball. Diego Simonet is analogous to the Argentine football star of the top players in the handball players from South America; Argentina, however, goes into the tournament as a clear outsider. The 29-year-old won the Champions League with Montpellier last year and was named Best Player at the Final Four - the first non-European. Simonet plays like the Norwegians Sagosen in the back room, small problem: The Argentine is currently battered and could fail for the first World Cup games.

38 years, goal machine, hope of his nation: Kiril Lazarov has already achieved more than 1550 hits in his international career and is the star in the Macedonian team. The pro from the right backcourt belongs to the top favorites in the scorer list before each tournament. At the 2009 World Cup, he threw 92 goals - until today record. He also holds the record at the European Championships, scoring 61 in Euro 2012. Last Lazarov failed with his club Nantes (on the side of German ex-national player Dominik Klein) in the final of the Champions League. At the World Cup, Macedonia has chances to enter the main round.

Ferran Solé in the symbol photo, you could say. At the European Championship a year ago, the 26-year-old scored the most scores of all players by seven-meter (17 goals in 21 attempts, 81 percent hit rate). So Solé had a large share in the European Championship victory of the Spaniards. Also in the World Cup Spain is one of the title candidates, with young players like soles and veterans (Julen Aguinagalde, Raul Entrerríos), the Spanish selection has an exciting mix of young and old. Solé plays at club level for Toulouse from France.

Alex Dujshebaev is next to Solé also to the younger group in the Spanish team. The 26-year-old is fast, strong in attack and had as a scorching back space player significantly contributed to the European Championship victory of the Spaniards a year ago. His father, Talant Dujshebaev, as a two-time world handball player, was one of the greatest in his sport. Alex Dujshebaev is signed to Polish top club KS Kielce.

Nikola Karabatic is missing injured, so the French have to renounce their superstar - which has shaped the game of national selection for nearly a decade and led them to four world titles. Top player has the defending champion anyway, for example, Kentin Mahé . The backcourt middle / left wins won the summer championship with Flensburg in the Bundesliga, meanwhile, the 27-year-old is at the Hungarian top club Veszprém under contract. On Mahé you should also pay attention because he is scheduled as one of several Karabatic replacement players.

Dika Mem was one of the great discoveries at the European Championships 2018 and is one of the hopefuls of the French team. The 21-year-old embodies the perfect mix of a handball player. He combines strength and speed, endurance and technique like no other. With 22 goals, he was France's third-best scorer at the European Championship a year ago. Former professional handball professional Éric Quintin was one of the coaches of Mem in the national junior team. A year ago, the former national player told L'Équipe: "If we had previously made a player with a computer, it would have been Nikola Karabatic it be Dika Mem. "

Sweden's Jim Gottfridsson is one of the best players in the Bundesliga, he also plays for German champions Flensburg. In the national team, the 26-year-old feels equally well: at the European Championships one year ago, he was with 29 goals best thrower and best Passgeber (25 assists) of Sweden and partly responsible for the surprising move into the final. Sweden played a thrilling tempo handball a year ago and also wants to go far with this style at the World Cup. Chances are good, because Sweden has caught the slightly easier tournament half.

Another Swede: Mikael Appelgren of the Rhein-Neckar Löwen guards the gate with the Scandinavians. The 29-year-old convinced with strong reflexes and came at the 2018 EM at a good defense rate of 35 percent. In addition to Appelgren there are a number of strong goalkeepers at this World Cup, including the German duo Heinevetter / Wolff, or France's Vincent Gerard, also the Danes have with Jannick Green and Niklas Landin two outstanding keeper.

For the Swedes, the development is particularly exciting, the country won in 1999 as the last Scandinavian nation the title at a World Cup finals. Sweden is currently playing an exhilarating speed handball, surprising the world's elite and reaching the finals of the European Championship in the previous year, defeating Spain first.

Glandorf says the game has been "faster and more athletic" since 2007. This should also be related to the introduction of the seventh field player without a shirt. Since 2016 every field player may be exchanged with the goalkeeper. Thus, overpay situations can be created or time penalties can be compensated - for Glandorf this is the most significant change since 2007.

Also, the DHB selection wanted to play fast in the European Championship 2018, but the physically robust squad did not fit the idea of ​​the coach. "I had presented much nicer and more modern handball than we played it," said Prokop in the SPIEGEL interview before this World Cup. The current Testspielindrücke indicate that Prokop has moved away from this idea and Germany will focus on a strong defensive to Finn Lemke and Hendrik Pekeler.

These are the favorites and outsiders

Outsider: Angola (Group D, opponents: Egypt, Argentina, Qatar, Hungary, Sweden)
Angola is clear outsider at the World Cup. The country was previously qualified for a finals three times and always dropped out in the first round, most recently two years ago with zero points from five games and a goal difference of 122: 191. Angola will miss the second round this year as well, the team - almost the entire squad is under contract to Angolan clubs - is not competitive. Physically, the players are clearly inferior to the European pros, and so are most of the outsiders that followed.

Outsider: Chile (Group C, opponents: Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Austria, Norway, Denmark)
Chile will not play a major role in the final tournament. The country has always missed the intermediate round in his previous four appearances, it should also come this time. Who should you pay attention to? On the trio Erwin, Harald and Emil Feuchtmann. The grandchildren of a German emigrating to Chile are the top stars of their team, Emil Feuchtmann (photo) is the head of the team.

Outsider: Bahrain (Group B, opponents: Japan, Iceland, Macedonia, Croatia, Spain)
Bahrain will face European champions Spain in their opening match. At the latest then it will be clear: After the preliminary round is over. The team is missing players from a European top league, only the coach Aron Kristjánsson brings international experience. The Icelander was already head coach of his native country and trained in Germany Hannover-Burgdorf from 2010 to 2011.

Outsider: Japan (Group B, opponents: Bahrain, Iceland, Macedonia, Croatia, Spain)
One of the group opponents of the Bahrain is Japan, which could qualify only thanks to a wildcard for the finals. For handball fans, an appearance of the Japanese selection should still be interesting, the head coach of the Asians is the former DHB coach Dagur Sigurdsson. The Icelander had surprisingly won the European title in 2016 with Germany. Sigurdsson is to prepare the handball players for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

Outsider: Korea (Group A, opponents: Germany, France, Russia, Serbia, Brazil)
Korea (Germany's opponent in the opening match) is traveling to the World Cup with a unified team from South and North Korea, 16 South Koreans and four North Koreans have been nominated (special permit from the IHF, all other World Cup squads are limited to 16 players). This is the first time since the Winter Olympics, a Korean association team at the start. Coach Cho has announced that at least one player from North Korea will play in each game - the problem: there is a clear difference in levels. Korea is such an outsider, the World Cup will focus on the hope of a political rapprochement of the two neighboring countries.

Outsider: Saudi Arabia (Group C, opponents: Chile, Tunisia, Austria, Norway, Denmark)
Saudi Arabia are qualified for a World Cup for the ninth time, so far always in the preliminary round was over. And so it will probably come this time, the squad is missing professionals with international experience. On the side of the IHF, where fans can assess all the squad of the World Cup participants, the team from Saudi Arabia is rated with only two out of five stars - the worst value in the IHF fan ranking.

Outsider: Tunisia (Group C, opponents: Saudi Arabia, Chile, Austria, Norway, Denmark)
The current African champion is now part of the fixed inventory of a handball World Cup and is qualified for the 13th consecutive year for the finals. The greatest success in these years was the fourth place at the home World Cup 2005. Without the support of the audience is not to expect much from this team. After all, with the 27-year-old Wael Jallouz (photo), the country has an international top player from FC Barcelona in its ranks.

Outsider: Austria (Group C, opponents: Saudi Arabia, Chile, Tunisia, Norway, Denmark)
Goalkeeper Robert Weber (photo) from SC Magdeburg you have to remember - he is the top star of the selection. The Bundesliga players Nikola Bilyk (THW Kiel) and Raul Santos (Leipzig) also represent international class. Above all, however, players from the internationally insignificant Handball League Austria are bustling. In short: Austria is the weakest representative from Europe. After a second place at the finals in 1938, Austria never again played an important role in a World Cup. Target: the entry into the main round. In an overall weaker group that is feasible.

Outsider: Argentina (group D, opponents: Egypt, Angola, Qatar, Hungary, Sweden)
A little stronger than the previous outsiders is Argentina. The South Americans are no passing customers and have made it in their previous ten World Cup participations again and again beyond the preliminary round. One of the most experienced is 36-year-old goalkeeper Matías Carlos Schulz (pictured), who has played at several European clubs. Bitter: The most famous player Diego Simonet, who has led Montpellier to Champions League victory, threatens to fail for the tournament. Overall, the potential for a real surprise is missing.

15th place: Brazil's best World Cup performance so far: 13th place at the 2013 World Cup (Group A, opponents: Korea, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France)
At a slightly higher level than Argentina is Brazil, which has qualified continuously since 1995 for a World Cup finals. The South Americans have a passionate squad with many young players but can not compete at the top level. Germany will meet Brazil in the preliminary round, in preparation for the DHB selection had completed shortly before the World Cup start a friendly against Argentina, which occurs similarly body-conscious. The test won the German team clearly.

14th place: Egypt , best World Cup performance so far: Fourth place in the 2001 World Cup (Group D, opponents: Angola, Argentina, Qatar, Hungary, Sweden)
At the turn of the millennium, Egypt was one of the ten best teams in the world, and at the 2001 World Cup, the nation even reached fourth place. With such a placement is not to be expected this time, but Egypt wants two years before the World Cup in their own country (then the field is increased from currently 24 to 32 teams and the tournament quality further watered down) well presented. With Mohamed Mamdouh of Montpellier a current Champions League winner is in the squad, overall, the team is quite experienced (nine of the 16 championship riders have already each played over 200 internationals).

13th place: Serbia best World Cup performance so far: Eighth place at the 2009 World Championships (Group A, opponents: Korea, Brazil, Russia, Germany, France)
The Serbs belong to the variety "uncomfortable", but are out of the question for the top places. The squad is not well enough in the middle, some changes on the coach bank caused concern. Currently, Nenad Perunicic is head coach, who has won several titles in his playing career with Magdeburg, Kiel and Barcelona. The performer in the team of the German group opponent is the young right winger Darko Dukic.

12th place: Russia , best World Cup performance so far: World Champion 1993, 1997 (Group A, opponents: Germany, Brazil, France, Korea, Serbia)
World Champion, European Champion, Olympic Champion - Russia was the handball nation at the turn of the millennium. Most recently, however, the country was missing in the European Championship, played no more role in the World Cup. Between these tops and flops lies the mediocrity - that is exactly where Russia's selection is currently classified, it is still in a state of flux. One of the hopefuls is Timur Dibirov (photo) of top club Vardar Skopje, the top scorer with over 600 international matches is one of the most successful launcher in his country, goes with his 35 years but also to the end of career.

11th place: Iceland , best World Cup performance so far: fifth place at the 1997 World Championships (Group B, opponents: Spain, Croatia, Macedonia, Bahrain, Japan)
No, he does not go hunting for goals this time: Gudjón Valur Sigurdsson (photo) holds the world record with over 1800 goals in his international career and will miss the World Cup because of an injury. So top-star Aron Pálmarsson from FC Barcelona leads a solid and young team. For Iceland, it is in a group with the top teams Spain and Croatia for the third place, which qualifies for the entry into the main round - the worst rival for this place is Macedonia, which we rank better in our ranking.

10th place: Macedonia , best World Cup performance so far: ninth place at the 2015 World Cup (Group B, opponents: Spain, Croatia, Iceland, Bahrain, Japan)
From Macedonia comes with Vardar Skopje one of the best club teams in the world. The coach of the national selection is Raúl Gonzalez, a top coach who also trains Paris Saint-Germain, and with Kiril Lazarov, the team has one of the most experienced and dangerous players in world handball. The problem: Macedonia's squad is not good enough in the width, the selection must fear for the entry into the main round.

9th place: Hungary , best World Cup performance so far: Vice World Champion 1986 (Group D, opponents: Sweden, Qatar, Argentina, Egypt, Angola)
The European Championship in Croatia ended for the ambitious Hungary with a bitter disappointment - off in the preliminary round. In October, head coach Ljubomir Vranjes (2014 Champions League winner with Flensburg) had to leave his post. Now a restart on the coaching position should help, some good players are already present: The stars are called Máté Lékai (photo) and goalkeeper Roland Mikler, both of which are under contract with the Hungarian top club Veszprém.

8th place: Qatar , best World Cup performance so far: Vice World Champion 2015 (Group D, opponents: Sweden, Hungary, Argentina, Egypt, Angola)
Before the home World Cup in 2015, Qatar had bought a number of top stars. This was made possible by a rule of the World Federation IHF, according to which athletes may change their nationality, provided that they have not played a competitive match for their home country for three years. Some stars of that time, top coach Valero Rivera, goalkeeper Danijel Saric (photos) or Zarko Markovic, for example, are still there. Quality is there, but the stars have grown old, sustainable success has not set. The main round will reach Qatar, then it's over.

Rank 7: Norway , best World Cup performance so far: Vice World Champion 2017 (Group C, opponents: Denmark, Austria, Tunisia, Chile, Saudi Arabia)
Norway is the runner-up and has one of the most exciting players on the record, Sander Sagosen of Paris Saint-Germain. A repeat of the success of two years ago would be a sensational success for the 23-year-old backcourt star and his team-mates, the 2018 European Championship had shown that the young Norwegians in the spotlight have problems - the team is still not a top team. However, their coach Christian Berge, who has already celebrated great successes with Flensburg in Germany, embodies an absolute top.

6th place: Croatia , best World Cup performance so far: World Champion 2003 (Group B, opponents: Spain, Macedonia, Iceland, Bahrain, Japan)
The Croatians have with Domagoj Duvnjak one of the best player makers in the world in their ranks. The 30-year-old from THW Kiel is shaping the game of his team, and the team is damned dependent on the world handball player of 2013. This is curse and blessing at the same time, as the disappointing home European Championship showed a year ago, as Duvnjak after a prolonged injury not could occur at its best. Luka Cindric from Kielce is a promise for the future, he still has to prove himself. In the 2003 World Cup winner, some have to go beyond themselves to reach the semi-finals.

5th place: Germany , best World Cup performance so far: World Champion 1938, 1978, 2007 (Group A, opponents: Brazil, Russia, Serbia, France, Korea)
Germany hopes for a push by the home advantage and has a balanced team (showpiece: the defensive) available, according to Christian Prokop the move to the semi-finals is already a success. These words can be followed, because there are problems: The team must show after the EM debacle that it has with DHB coach Prokop but a common line has found in the back room is missing a towering leader who directs the team. Uwe Gensheimer is the only superstar, but he also disappointed at the European Championships a year ago. The main round will reach Germany, where the opponents of Group B would be waiting with Spain and Croatia, which you probably have to leave both behind. Yes, the semi-finals would definitely be a success.

4th place: Sweden , best World Cup performance so far: World Champion 1954, 1958, 1990, 1999 (Group D, opponents: Hungary, Qatar, Argentina, Egypt, Angola)
Sweden is the most exciting team and the first of four top teams in this finals. The four-time world champion has increased after weak years last again, was in the previous year with an impressive speed handball championship second place. Chances are that the team will continue its run of success. The team is young, capable of development, some top performers also play together at the German champions Flensburg and thus know important processes. Sweden has - unlike Germany - the slightly lighter tournament half with group C and D caught. In short: The semi-finals are easy to imagine.

3rd place: Spain , best World Cup performance so far: World Champions 2005 and 2013 (Group B, opponents: Croatia, Macedonia, Iceland, Bahrain, Japan)
Before the European Championship 2018 we did not count Spain among the top favorites. The reason: the outdated squad. Spain was then quite convincingly European champion, the team worked extremely well together - keyword: sworn bunch. Before the World Cup, Spain is still old and the squad is dominated by veterans such as Valero Rivera (33 years old), Raúl Entrerríos (37) and Julen Aguinagalde (36). The European Championship also showed that younger players such as Ferrán Solé have a decisive influence on the team. This mix of young and old will bring Spain far ahead at the World Cup.

2nd place: France , best World Cup performance so far: World Champions 1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017 (Group A, opponents: Russia, Germany, Serbia, Brazil, Korea)
The record-breaking world champion has the strongest squad - backcourt Kentin Mahé, top talent Dika Mem from FC Barcelona or right-winger Luc Abalo from Paris Saint-Germain - France is top notch in every position. In addition, the French league is now considered the best in the world, last three French teams were in the Final Four of the Champions League.

But: Nikola Karabatic is missing injured. Sure, the multiple World Handballer is 34 years old, has at least reached his sporting zenith - but he is just the absolute leader in the team. How important a conductor is in the back room, becomes clear in the DHB selection, where such a player type is missing and desperately sought. Behind France's mission title defense you have to set a question mark without karabatic, so there is in our ranking the second place.

1st place: Denmark , best World Cup performance so far: Vice World Champion 1967, 2011, 2013 (Group C, opponents: Norway, Austria, Tunisia, Chile, Saudi Arabia)
With home advantage for the first time to become world champion, that's what the Danes dream of and that's the mission for Nikolaj Jacobsen, who is also head coach of the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. With superstar Mikkel Hansen (Paris Saint-Germain, photo), the dream duo in the goal (Niklas Landin / Jannick Green) or Casper Mortensen (FC Barcelona), the Danes are our title contender number one, especially as they have also caught the slightly easier tournament half.

The team is experienced, almost everyone in the team is at a top club under contract, the home World Cup could push the team in addition. But: Denmark has often had problems in the role of favorites. At the EC a year ago, the selection was surprisingly eliminated in the semi-final against Sweden, who had then gone into the tournament as an outsider. France's squad is actually a little stronger, but there is no leader Nikola Karabatic, the consequences of this personality are not yet in sight. One thing is certain: There is no absolute over-team at this tournament.

With a working defensive also succeeded the European Championship title in 2016, also the World Cup victory in 2007 was possible thanks to a strong defense and several players who have outgrown themselves. Whether the defensive style can lead to further success, is at least in the fourth round match of the DHB selection something clear. Then the German handball players meet defending champions France (15 January).

Here you will find the schedule for the World Cup.

Source: spiegel

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