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Handball European Championship: “I may be Icelandic, but I love this German team”

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Handball European Championship: “I may be Icelandic, but I love this German team”

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“I may be Icelandic, but I love this German team”

As of: 11:42 a.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes

“The hall that everyone raves about” – DHB team is looking forward to the main round in Cologne

Germany’s handball players lost to France at the end of the European Championship preliminary round and are now under pressure in the main round. Despite the setback, the players are really looking forward to the main round in Cologne.

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The defeat at the end of the preliminary round against France put the German national handball team under pressure. The upcoming four duels in Cologne must now be won in order to maintain the dream of a medal at the home European Championships.

There is a big family reunion in Cologne. Alfred Gislason, born 64 years ago in Akureyri, welcomed his father, his brothers and other relatives among the spectators at the start of the main round on Thursday – and a groundbreaking question arises for the national coach of the national handball team: “I’m very excited “Whether they are sitting in the stands in the German jersey or the Icelandic one,” he explained late on Wednesday evening in the Berlin Arena.

Before the duel with his home country, Gislason made at least one thing clear: “I will sing both national anthems, even if it will be difficult. I will do everything to win this game. I can guarantee that. I’m Icelandic, but I work with the German team and love this team.”

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National coach Alfred Gislason during the game against France

Source: dpa

Gislason had to comment on a strange mix of emotions: On the one hand, at the end of the group phase he had suffered his first defeat at the home European Championship with a score of 30:33 (15:17). On the other hand, it’s now time for the start of the main round against his home country, which he himself looked after as a selection coach from 2006 to 2008. To make matters worse, Germany put itself under pressure due to the deserved defeat against the Olympic champions: the selection now starts the next round with 0:2 points – and upon closer inspection only has finals left to look forward to. If the team wants to qualify for the semi-finals, the duels with Iceland (Thursday, 8:30 p.m., ZDF/Dyn), on Saturday against Austria, on January 22nd against Hungary and on January 24th against Croatia (both at 8:30 p.m.) probably all have to be played be won.

“Now the frustration prevails”

A more than difficult undertaking, especially because against France we had shown what the undoubtedly talented team still lacks: cleverness and robustness. Against the world-class ensemble around superstars Nikola Karabatic, Ludovic Fabregas and Dika Mem, the Germans got off to an impressive start with a quick 3-0 lead in front of 13,571 spectators in the capital – but as the game went on, the opponent’s powerful game prevailed was clearly superior, especially in the backcourt and in the circle. “Overall, the breadth of the French was the decisive factor; we played against an absolutely world-class team who lived from their experience, especially in the crucial moments,” admitted the once again strong goalkeeper Andreas Wolff afterwards.

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Captain Johannes Golla (1.95 meters tall, weighing 112 kilograms) was the only German player who could match his opponent in terms of physicality and win many direct duels. “If we look at the game again, we will find some things that were not optimal in terms of the agreement,” complained the man from SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

Circular player Johannes Golla scores one of his five goals against mostly overpowering French


“These are things that cannot happen to us if we want to win against France. Right now frustration predominates. But I think that by tomorrow at the latest we will be able to hold our heads up high and take something good with us – namely that we kept up with a world-class team for a long time,” Golla continued. “Now it’s off to Kön. That’s where we wanted to go and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The German entourage set off by train from Berlin to Cologne on Wednesday at 9.33 a.m. – and at least the players can look forward to a very special atmosphere on the Rhine. There are four appearances scheduled in the hall that formed the supporting basis for the 2007 World Cup triumph.

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In the 20,000-seat Lanxess Arena in the Deutz district of Cologne, the spectators created such an emotional spectacle that in the semi-final against France and then in the final against Poland, the team not only spoke of the famous eighth man in the stands, but even of the ninth or tenth . No other hall in this country is anywhere near as loud. So there are far worse places to start a winning streak to keep the dream of a medal alive.

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