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Megatalent Julian Köster – Florian Wirtz’s mother was his first trainer

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Megatalent Julian Köster – Florian Wirtz’s mother was his first trainer

Stand: 29.01.2022

KOESTER Julian Team Germany European Handball Championships 2022 in Slovakia Main round game Germany - Russia on January 23, 2022 in Bratislava KOESTER Julian Team Germany European Handball Championships 2022 in Slovakia Main round game Germany - Russia on January 23, 2022 in Bratislava

A new star for the long-suffering German handball players? Julian Köster brings everything with him

Quelle: picture alliance / Laci Perenyi

In the national team plagued by Corona, Julian Köster is considered the greatest promise of German handball. His career is unusual. Now he could become the long-sought successor to Pascal Hens.

EIt was his first major appearance on the international stage. And when the business trip ended prematurely, Julian Köster made it clear what he had missed most in the 14 days in Bratislava: a bit of normality. “I’m looking forward to my family, my girlfriend and being able to socialize again,” he said. “Even if the EM was fun – it was a long isolation time.”

In the end, Köster, 21, could look back on a successful European Championship. While the German entourage had to complain of a total of 19 corona cases during the title fights, the smart professional from VfL Gummersbach used the tournament for the best self-promotion.

Not only did he come through the European Championship as one of four players from the original squad without an illness, but he was also one of the most conspicuous with 19 goals and 19 assists. An amazing development, because the native of Bielefeld should only use the tournament to gradually get used to duels at the highest level. Now the lanky half-left is suddenly considered the biggest promise of German handball.

Hens successor wanted

For years, the national team has been looking for a new star in the left backcourt – the king’s position in the sport on which duels in handball are generally decided. The two meter tall shooting star could finally close the gap. Because the last exceptional player there was Pascal Hens, who became world champion in 2007 and scored 565 goals in 199 international matches.

HENS Pascal Team Germany?Handball World Championships 2007 in Germany?Final Germany - Poland in the Lanxess Arena?on February 4th, 2007 in Koeln

Pascal Hens (l.) im WM-Finale 2007

Quelle: picture alliance / Laci Perenyi

With his thin arms, Köster comes across as innocent as the former HSV player, but in contrast to Hens, who is 41 today, he has a big advantage: he is also a mercilessly good defender. He can either act in a defensive formation, or he is even stronger as a clever ball thief in the so-called 3-2-1 system.

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Köster, who won silver at the World Cup three years ago with the junior selection and was voted the best defender of the tournament, is symbolic of the course that national coach Alfred Gislason has taken. When looking for potential new national players, the Icelander also has the second division in mind. He dissected Köster’s style of play in Gummersbach in many video sessions, Gislason explained during the tournament. “Of course we know what he can do. A very complete player grows up with us.”

young stars among themselves

The career of the mega-talent began quite strangely, as Köster himself reported: When he started playing handball in the youth of TuS SW Brauweiler, he had an unusual pioneer: the mother of national soccer player Florian Wirtz. In any case, the two young stars of their sports have a lot in common. “We come from the same village and went to school together,” explained Köster. “It’s quite funny, his mother was actually my first handball coach. That’s why I’m following Leverkusen, especially Florian Wirtz, a bit.”

38 points in seven games at the European Championship: Julian Köster

38 points in seven games at the European Championship: Julian Köster

Source: dpa

He had ample opportunity to do so during the European Championship. Because after the Corona outbreak in the German camp, the players were locked in their single rooms for almost two weeks, meetings only took place via video calls, most training sessions were canceled, and the pitiful squad often only saw each other in the team bus on the way to the game hall.

Even the final evening after the last game against Russia on Tuesday (30:29) and the seventh place in the European Championship was a purely virtual event: With pizza, beer and cocktails, every professional in the room celebrated the equally premature and longed-for end of what was probably the most unusual handball tournament at all.

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It is now up to Köster to confirm the services. In the club fighting for promotion. And in the national team, for which the next highlight is in a year’s time with the World Cup in Poland and Sweden. His sporting motto, like his ability, bodes well: “When I play handball,” he said, “I’m just trying to have fun.”

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