The handball stars from Sweden gave Germany a bitter lesson on Thursday (April 27th, 2023) in the EHF Euro Cup. There were only a few bright spots, but also a bad injury.
The 23:32 in this substitute tournament for the teams already qualified for the European Championship was the fifth bankruptcy for the DHB team in the fifth game. Previously there had been defeats in the first leg against Sweden (33:37), Spain (31:32) and twice against Denmark (23:30, 21:28).
Before the international double against the Swedes on Sunday against Spain (3.35 p.m., live on the first and in the live stream), national coach Alfred Gislason had called up four newcomers and three returnees to his squad: Philipp Ahouansou, Renars Uscins, Max Beneke and Justus Fischer nominated for the first time, the recently failed Luca Witzke and Julian Köster and right winger Timo Kastening returned to the DHB selection.
Johannesson in Gala-Form
The Germans started the game at eye level, but after five minutes and with a 2:3 deficit, there was suddenly hardly anything going on offensively. Whether Johannes Golla, Luca Witzke or Christoph Steinert – they all found their match in the Swedish keeper Peter Johannesson, who plays for Bergischer HC in the Bundesliga and was previously under contract in Lemgo and Balingen-Weilstetten.
Johannesson also unnerved the Germans in this phase with the seven meters, Sweden pulled away to 14:7 up to the 25th minute. Andreas Wolf was still doing damage limitation in the German goal and parried with strong reflexes against Max Darj, Hampus Wanne and Albin Lagergren.
Gislason also pissed off on the defensive
In his first time out, Gislason was visibly dissatisfied with his team, struggling with the exploitation of opportunities as well as with being postponed in the defensive network: “The agreement was different!”he shouted to his protégés.
Even after switching from 4-2 coverage to 3-2-1 with Julian Köster in the front line, not much was possible: the DHB selection went on break at 8:16, a reasonable result for the class difference in the first 30 minutes.
Drux with Achillessehnenriss from the place
It didn’t get any better in the second round, but there was also a moment of shock: after 34 minutes, veteran Paul Drux suddenly screamed in pain after starting from half-left – the game was over for him, a short time later the DHB sports director reported Axel Kromer the devastating diagnosis of a torn Achilles tendon: “This is devastating and a tragedy for Paul, the worst thing that can happen to an athlete. We feel for him.”
Gislason also suffered with: “It is extremely bitter to lose Paul in the long term. It overshadows the game and I feel very sorry for him.” Circle Runner Golla said: “Of course, when a player gets injured that badly, their heads are down.”
Gislason struggles with the many misses
After all, the Germans managed not to turn the clear deficit into a debacle. The lively Witzke, Golla and then Renars Uscins with a really good move to the goal brought the DHB team up to 19:23 in the meantime, Golla and Uscins were the best scorers at the DHB with five goals each. But in the last ten minutes the concentration dropped enormously again, in the end there was a clear smack with a gap of nine goals.
Gislason summed it up: “Of course I’m not satisfied, especially not with the chances we took. 24 missed shots and seven technical errors are far too many. That’s why we had no chance.”