Duty fulfilled, knowledge gained: The German handball team has started into the hot phase of preparation for the 2019 World Cup at home. 78 days before the kick-off in Berlin, the selection of the German Handball Federation (DHB) in Wetzlar won the European Championship qualifier against Israel 37-21 (19-9) without any effort.
Best German scorers were Uwe Gensheimer and Tobias Reichmann with seven goals each.
National coach Christian Prokop used the game in front of 4347 spectators for experiments and many changes. So instead of captain Gensheimer on the left, Bundesliga top scorer Matthias Musche started, in the back European champion Martin Strobel celebrated his comeback as playmaker of the national team after two years of abstinence. The junior staff Tim Suton and Franz Semper also diligently collected minutes of deployment.
Against the international second class guests, the offensively aligned DHB team, which changed after the half-time to several positions, hardly came under pressure, after 20 minutes the hosts already led 11:5.
Even if the concentration in the defence decreased in the last quarter of an hour, Prokop might have liked the attitude of his team.
Formally it was about the qualification for the EM 2020 in Norway, Sweden and Austria. On Sunday (19.30 h) there will be a qualifying match in Kosovo.
But the German handball team has long had the World Cup in mind, which starts on 10 January (until 27 January) and will be hosted by Germany and Denmark.
“These aren’t friendly games now,” Prokop, who doesn’t want to organize “a huge casting into January,” had said in advance. On 10 December, the 39-year-old will nominate a 28-man squad, which will then have to be reduced to 16 players.
Against Israel Prokop had to do without the injured Fabian Wiede and Paul Drux, also Steffen Weinhold and Kai Häfner were missing.
But the supposed replacements did their job very well over long distances. The Israelis were always overwhelmed with the German attacks, in the first half alone they caused five seven meters. Reichmann did not allow himself to be asked twice – to the delight of the DHB leadership.
“We must use the training week with the two EM qualifying games to swear by the big goal together. On the pitch, but also off it”, DHB Vice President Bob Hanning had said: “I demand from the team and from all of us around it a hundred per cent willingness for sporting success – and not romance”.