Handball: Germany makes it to the Olympics at the last minute

Handball: Germany makes it to the Olympics at the last minute

Sport Paris 2024

At the last minute, Germany’s handball players made it to the Olympics

As of: 4:00 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

Germany’s Lukas Mertens celebrates the Olympic qualification

Source: dpa

With a show of strength, the German national handball team managed to qualify for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. National coach Alfred Gislason’s selection clearly wins against Austria in the final group game.

Thanks to a massive increase in performance, Germany’s handball players have qualified for the Olympic Games and have finally helped national coach Alfred Gislason to extend his contract. The DHB selection prevailed in Hanover in the decisive game against Austria with 34:31 (18:15) and secured second place in their group of four behind Croatia.

In front of 10,099 spectators, Julian Köster and Renars Uscins were the best scorers for the German team on Sunday with eight goals each, which had been under a lot of pressure after the 30:33 defeat against the Croatians the day before.

For the DHB team it is the third Olympic participation in a row. In 2016, Germany surprisingly won bronze in Rio de Janeiro. In Tokyo it was over in the quarterfinals. A German team has only become Olympic champion once: the GDR team triumphed in the legendary final against the Soviet Union in 1980.

Gislason will stay until 2027

Thanks to the qualification, there is finally certainty regarding the national coach question. Gislason, who has responded irritably to questions about his future in recent days, will remain in office until February 2027. In Hanover, the Icelander had completed his job on probation. If the DHB team had not solved the Paris ticket, Gislason’s time at the DHB would have been over.

National coach Alfred Gislason

Source: dpa

The 64-year-old now has around four months to turn an unsettled team into a serious medal candidate. In France there could even be a double opportunity for handball Germany. The women will also be fighting for their Olympic ticket in April in a group with Slovenia, Paraguay and Montenegro. The qualifications of the DHB colleagues should be incentive enough.

Emotional, aggressive and few mistakes

24 hours after the catastrophic opening phase against Croatia, Germany looked like a substitute. Hardly any trace of weak finishes. The leading players around Julian Köster brought the necessary emotionality and physicality onto the floor, while the defenders offered significantly more resistance. The 9:7 lead after a quarter of an hour was deserved.

Gislason even chose the adjective “outstanding” during his first time out. The fact that the European Championship fourth-placed team were unable to break away despite good saves from Andreas Wolff was due to simple ball losses. The DHB team was able to reduce technical errors compared to the previous day, but could not completely avoid them. All the better that tournament high-flyer Uscins had another great day and put his team in the lead with five goals (18:13).

U-21 world champion Späth creates atmosphere

After the break the intensity increased again. In goal, Gislason now relied on U21 world champion David Späth at times, who sent the hall into ecstasy with two saves. Köster also benefited from the charged atmosphere. The backcourt ace scored three goals in a row and restored the five-goal lead (24:19).

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The 24-year-old repeatedly broke through Austria’s back rows with his irrepressible will. Teammate Lukas Zerbe, on the other hand, failed twice from a promising position, so that Germany had to tremble again in the end. Eight minutes before the end of the game the lead shrank to two goals. But Germany’s handball players saved the result over time – and are going to the Olympics.


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