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Start of the Olympic year: Handball women want to get their ticket to the European Championship

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Start of the Olympic year: Handball women want to get their ticket to the European Championship

As of: February 27, 2024 3:36 p.m

With two wins against Slovakia, the German handball women can qualify early for the European Championships. But the big goal is Olympic qualification.

Markus Gaugisch’s target for the start of the year for the German handball players was clear. “In terms of sport, the highest priority is that we win both games against Slovakia in order to secure our European Championship ticket before April,” said the national coach before the international double pack in the European Championship qualification on Thursday (February 29, 2024). in Sala and Sunday in Düsseldorf.

With two confident performances, the DHB selection wants to complete their participation in the final round from November 28th to December 15th in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland ahead of time in order to be fully prepared before the final group games against Ukraine and Israel in mid-April to be able to concentrate on the upcoming Olympic qualification.

Olympic qualification is the overarching goal

The Summer Games in Paris are the overarching goal this year. “Qualifying for the Olympics would be a huge success, after all, we haven’t been there since 2008. It’s time we got there,” Gaugisch confirmed his claim months ago. Slovenia, Montenegro and Paraguay are the opponents in Neu-Ulm.

Even though the focus is initially on Slovakia, the Olympics are already in the back of our minds. “That is our big goal,” affirmed cyclist Julia Behnke. For this reason, Gaugisch is largely relying on the team that achieved sixth place at the World Cup in December. “Now is not the time for experiments. We are close to the Olympic qualification, where everything is on the line. That’s why we want to continue to internalize and refine the things we have built up over the past two years,” he said 49 year old.

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Without Smits, Berger and Candlesticks

Gaugisch will have to do without the injured Xenia Smits, Amelie Berger and Viola Leuchter. The backcourt players Mia Zschocke and Julia Maidhof are returning after a long injury. The loss of Smits is particularly painful. “Xenia is one of our absolute leaders and an important factor for us. We have to make sure we get her energy from other players now,” said the national coach.

Eckerle still has to wait for a comeback

Goalkeeper Dinah Eckerle has returned to the DHB selection, but she still has to wait for her comeback to the national team after her maternity leave. The 28-year-old took part in all training sessions with the team on Monday and Tuesday, but will travel home again on Wednesday. Eckerle, who has played 75 international matches so far, was last in goal for the DHB selection in the World Cup quarter-finals against Spain in December 2021.

“We talked for a long time in advance and agreed that she would only be there in training and that we would play the games with Katharina Filter and Sarah Wachter. The trust that the two of them have earned still counts now,” reported Gaugisch and added: “She’s in good form and will be back in April.”

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