Stress test passed, confidence gained: The German handball players have solved their last compulsory task before the home World Championships with ease. 74 days before the opening match in Berlin, national coach Christian Prokop’s team celebrated a 30:14 (15:5) victory in Kosovo that was never in jeopardy. After two wins from two matches, they are now in the European Championship qualifier with an immaculate record.
“We were satisfied with our defensive work for over 60 minutes today. But when it comes to exploiting opportunities, we certainly still have room for improvement,” said Prokop. Right-winger Tobias Reichmann saw it similarly.
“We’ve got plenty of air left to go up. In the defence we stood well, 14 goals are very good. But we left too many chances at the front of the attack, so the result has to be higher.” Circle runner Patrick Wiencek added: “We didn’t do our best game today, the important thing was that we scored the two points and now we’re looking forward”.
Captain Uwe Gensheimer and Franz Semper, each with four goals, were the best scorers of the German team at the first international match of a DHB selection in Kosovo, which convinced with a very concentrated performance. Furthermore Keeper Keeper Andreas Wolff showed several parades and provided the necessary safety. Germany had won the opening round of the finals on Wednesday against Israel 37-21.
The Prokop selection laid the foundation for success on Sunday with their 6-0 cover, which prevented numerous attacks by the clearly limited hosts before Wolff. Only at the beginning the required effectiveness was missing in the offensive, so that the outsider remained within striking distance until 7:4 (20.). The 2300 spectators celebrated every goal of the Kosovars frenetically.
The German team, which was supported by more than 80 soldiers stationed in Kosovo on the ranks, found with increasing play duration to more security in the offensive. This was reflected in the result: After an 8:1 run, the DHB selection dropped to ten goals for the break.
After the change, the guests continued seamlessly. Although several speed encounters did not bring the resistance of the brave Kosovars to a standstill, the lead continued to grow steadily.
Before the Balkan trip, there had been several changes in the German squad: Steffen Fäth from the Rhine-Neckar Lions moved up for Tim Suton from Lemgo, and goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter was missing on the trip to the Kosovo capital. Circus runner Hendrik Pekeler was out of the race due to a bruise of the right iliac crest.
The game with the third-rate handball players of Kosovo is part of the qualification for the European Championship 2020 in Norway, Sweden and Austria. But the handball team has long been thinking in terms of the World Cup, which starts on 10 January (until 27 January) and is being hosted by Germany and Denmark. On 10 December, Prokop will nominate a squad of 28 players who will then have to be reduced to 16 players.
In group 1 of the European Championship qualification Germany takes the lead with 4:0 points. The first two teams of all eight groups of four qualify for the European Championship, the next two matches against Poland are scheduled for April. The second leg against Israel and Kosovo in June marks the end of the European Championship qualifiers.