dGerman handball players successfully completed the dress rehearsal and won the last test match before the European Championship at home. The DHB team beat Portugal on Saturday with 35:31 (20:15) at the Kiel Handball Arena and gained confidence for the start of the Euro Cup on Wednesday against Switzerland. In front of 9,113 spectators, Juri Knorr was the best German scorer with six goals. The national coach's team had its first duel with the southern Europeans this Thursday Alfredo Gislason They decided for themselves.
The DHB delegation now heads to North Rhine-Westphalia, where on Wednesday it will open its medal mission in the Düsseldorf football stadium in front of 53,000 fans. Other rivals in the preliminary round are North Macedonia and France. Germany is not one of the favorites for the winter climax in its own country, but dreams of the semi-finals.
Groetzki injures his foot
National coach Alfred Gislason modified his starting eleven compared to the first duel against the Portuguese. Patricio GroetzkiThe 34-year-old, the oldest in Germany's European Championship squad, started on the right wing, with under-21 world champion Renars Uscins behind him.
At minute 23 the game ended for Groetzki. The veteran injured his foot without the influence of an opponent and left the field limping. With a pained expression on his face, he put ice on his foot and buried his face in the towel.
Both teams played on equal terms during the first minutes. German assets included leftists. Lucas Mertens and defense player Julian Köster, who represented a great goal threat. However, the DHB team lacked intensity in defense and the outsiders took advantage of the gaps. After ten minutes, Portugal took the lead for the first time (7:6).
As a result, Gislason changed the interior block and brought young hopefuls Justus Fischer and Sebastian Heymann into the game. “Very good on offense and now we are more aggressive on defense,” praised Gislason during the first timeout. Portugal now scored much less frequently and Andi Wolff underlined his world class with his first saves. The German seven did not let Groetzki's injury faze them and took the lead at 20:15.
After the break, Gislason brought in new strength and U21 world champions Nils Lichtlein and David Späth in goal, as well as veteran Kai Häfner, started to practice the game. From the German point of view, the changes did not harm the course of the match and the DHB team extended its lead to seven goals (27:21). Germany was now going into a frenzy. The Kiel fans got up from their seats and celebrated the appearance of their Eurocup contenders: The Wave jumped into the stadium for the first time.
When everything seemed like a certain victory, the German handball players suffered a bit of slack. In attack, Timo Kastening and company made too many technical errors and the lead was reduced from seven to three goals. Gislason took time out and sent standout and playmaker Knorr back onto the field. Germany continued to fight, but in the end they deserved to win.