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Olympia 2021: Historically poor record of the German teams

Dhe last remaining hope for a medal of the German teams at the Olympics rested on a small white ball. This was on the goal line of the blue hockey field in the Oi Stadium. The scoreboard showed 6.8 seconds. 5: 4 for India, the umpteenth penalty corner for Germany. Lukas Windfeder thrashed the ball on goal. And failed. The dream of bronze shattered on the thickly padded glove of the Indian goalkeeper.

The missed chance to equalize, it was in a way symbolic of the performance of the German teams at these Olympic Games. Not a single medal was won by footballers, handball players, basketball players and the two hockey teams in Tokyo. Five years ago in Rio it had been four. In Japan, with only a few exceptions, the motto was: weak together.

The German Hockey Association had traveled to Japan with the aim of reaching the semifinals with both teams. Secretly, the ambitions of those involved may even have shimmered a little golden after the successes of the past few years. After all, they have been among the best in the world for years. The Japanese reality: Germany’s men, four-time Olympic champions, drove home for the first time since Sydney 2000 without any precious metal in their luggage.

Will the great turning point follow?

“It is an unbelievable disappointment,” said Florian Fuchs after the dramatic spectacle against India from a German point of view. It is incredibly difficult to put the defeat into words. “As a team, we would have deserved a lot more. It makes me sad that the hard work we put into it is not rewarded, ”continued the 29-year-old, who was part of the bronze selection at previous games.

Kais al Saadi announced changes in the German team shortly after losing the game for third place. “It is the same turning point as after all the Olympic Games. Players who have held out their bones for decades are taking their well-deserved hockey retirement, ”emphasized the national coach. In doing so, “huge personalities” would leave the team. A fact that made the result against India all the more devastating.

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The women, on the other hand, did not even have a chance at precious metal. Xavier Reckinger’s team had left the field as winners in four out of five preliminary round matches. Germany’s hockey players were only defeated against the Netherlands. In the quarter-finals against Argentina, however, the team then delivered a performance that at the Olympics is not enough for much more than the round of the last eight. “If you are honest, nothing went together,” confessed Lisa Altenburg, after the unacceptable 0: 3. When asked what remained of the games in Tokyo, the 31-year-old replied, crying: “Not much.”

A summary that also applies to the results of the German footballers. They started the wave of eliminations early on. After Stefan Kuntz had collected as many rejections when putting together his Olympic squad as others looking for an affordable 70-square-meter apartment in Berlin, the coach had a total of 15 field players available. In the meantime, the 59-year-old was seriously considering letting one of the three goalkeepers play in the field.

Only Kruse is really up for it

The selection of the German Football Association in Japan was presented accordingly. At the start, they lost in a devastating way against Brazilians who were motivated to the core 2: 4. The South American team even played Richarlison, who scored three wonderful goals against Germany, and Douglas Luiz. The two top performers had been on the pitch at the Copa America two weeks earlier.

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In the German team, hopes rested mainly on Max Kruse. The Union Berlin striker had spoken full-bodied about the gold medal before the games. After all, they won silver in Rio five years ago. In Tokyo, Kruse was noticed by his post-vacation constitution and a marriage proposal in front of the cameras. At least he enjoyed the opening ceremony. Because after the lucky win against Saudi Arabia and a draw against Ivory Coast, Germany’s footballers were quickly back on the plane home. The women did not even qualify after their Olympic victory in Rio.

After the disappointing performance of his team, Kuntz mainly complained about the strict anti-corona measures. “We were barracked, locked up and not allowed to go out on the streets. We were only allowed to open a balcony after a long back and forth. I have to say: I would have liked to have had more Olympic flair, ”complained the DFB coach. Despite the fact that he was eliminated, he was proud of his players. The image of German football in Japan could have done with a more critical assessment. On the other hand, the DFB and clubs have to question what importance they want to attach to the Olympics in the future.

Soccer, Olympics, Men, Preliminary Round, Group D, 3rd Matchday, Germany - Ivory Coast in the Miyagi Stadium.  Germany's Benjamin Henrichs (l) and Felix Uduokhai after the game.  +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Benjamin Henrichs (left) and Felix Uduokhai after the preliminary round match against Ivory Coast

Quelle: picture alliance/ dpa/AP

The German basketball players, who played their games in the huge Saitama Super Arena, were a ray of hope with some drawbacks. It’s hard to imagine if the 38,000 seats around the basketball court were only half full. With a strong performance, Henrik Rödl’s team secured the Olympic ticket at the qualifying tournament in Split – even without NBA star Dennis Schröder.

Accordingly, the national coach tried to honor the performance of his players after the clear bankruptcy against gold candidate Slovenia (70:94) in the quarter-finals. “It was a special summer, a dream came true,” said the 52-year-old. It was a privilege to play at the Olympics during these times. You could only really accuse his team of the given leadership in the opening failure against Italy.

The team has potential, especially when the professionals from the NBA are back on the team. The only thing uncertain after the Olympics is whether they will continue to be trained by Rödl. His contract was valid until after the Olympics. A decision has not yet been made. It does not seem impossible that the association will make a turning point despite the first Olympic quarter-finals since 1992. “We’ll sit down,” said Rödl. Incidentally, the DBB was not represented in the women’s and the Olympic premiere in 3×3.

Basketball: Olympia, Slovenia - Germany, final round, quarter-finals in the Saitama Super Arena.  Slovenia's Zoran Dragic (30) in action against Germany's Niels Giffey (5).  +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

For Niels Giffey (left) and his basketball colleagues, the quarter-finals against Slovenia around Zoran Dragic are the end of the line

Quelle: picture alliance/dpa/Pool Reuter

A few hours after the basketball team was eliminated, the handball team’s Olympic mission also ended prematurely on Tuesday. Alfred Gislason’s team, however, traveled to Japan with significantly higher expectations. Officially, the coach and team communicated the semifinals. But the German Handball Federation has been dreaming of an Olympic victory for years.

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Accordingly, Bob Hanning, the outgoing Vice President, sounded frustrated after the poor performance in the quarter-finals. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t make it. We undoubtedly have the potential, but we have used it far too seldom, ”criticized Hanning after the disastrous 21:27 against Egypt at times. He had formulated the gold dream briskly, in the end he had to realize that it wasn’t much more than hot air.

Only strong against Norway

In Tokyo, Germany’s handball players had never actually found their best form. Two narrow defeats against the top teams Spain and France, two mandatory victories against Brazil and Argentina, plus the only convincing performance against Norway. At the Olympics it became clear that the team at the highest level is currently missing the last percent of the world’s best.

03.08.2021, Japan, Tokyo: Handball: Olympia, Germany - Egypt, final round, quarter-finals, in the Yoyogi National Stadium.  Germany's Kai Häfner (l) and Timo Kastening react on the bench.  Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Mission gold failed: Germany’s Kai Häfner (left) and Timo Kastening cannot believe the end against Egypt

Source: dpa

Uwe Gensheimer, however, classified the disappointing performance differently. “Egypt was pretty much up there at the World Cup in January. And Spain and France are world class. We beat Norway and we had a good feeling today, ”said the captain, who had only got a little playing time in the course of the tournament, after the end against the North Africans to WELT. Five years ago, Germany’s handball players had won bronze, now they are part of the subterranean overall picture that the German teams presented at the Olympics.

The men and women in volleyball and water polo were innocent of this. You hadn’t even traveled to Tokyo, but could hardly have prevented the historically poor performance. The German teams last achieved a zero round at the games in Atlanta. 25 years ago.

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