Hockey: Team goalkeeper

Hockey: Team goalkeeper

The Munich SC has the luxury of having the two best goalkeepers of the second league in the squad. For Felix Reuss, the long-matured master plan could come up – the new man on the line is watching Olympia.

Frederik Gürtler was mixed with feelings next to the hockey artificial turf of the Munich sports club last weekend, and there were several reasons for that. For one thing, his team lost the possible second league championship lead in the 1: 3 (0: 0) against the Zehlendorf wasps because of a defensive blackout in the middle of the last quarter. On the other hand, Gürtler had wanted to guard the MSC goal, but had to fit in the short term because of a strain in the thigh. This situation is not exceptional in itself. The fact that Gürtler's representative will not automatically move back into second place after his recovery is not the rule. But since the beginning of the season, the former goalkeeper Gürtler is no longer alone: ​​The MSC committed Felix Reuß, a longtime national player, who knows it after injury again and wants to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The MSC now has two very good goalkeepers for one position. That was a luxury, but not a luxury problem, says coach Patrick Fritsche; on demand also emphasize Gürtler and Reuß. Because what sounds like a conflict center of the extra class is nothing that would have happened to the MSC just like that. Fritsche wanted it that way because he sees the constellation as a "win-win situation". "Felix can pursue his goal alongside us, and we have the two best goalkeepers in the league," he says. To understand how this works, you have to know that Gürtler and Reuß do not compete for the space in the goal, but share it. This is a crucial difference that Fritsche worked out in many conversations with the players, he says.

"We are team athletes enough to make the most of this constellation": Alexander Inderthal (r.) In a duel with the Zehlendorf wasps.

(Photo: Claus Schunk)

Gürtler considers his situation differentiated. The 25-year-old says openly, but without bitterness: "Theoretically, of course, you want to play everything, that's what we do, on the personal level that is a damper." From a team point of view things would be different. If a player like Reuß could imagine switching to the second division in Munich, they would have to take the chance. "We are adults and team athletes enough to get the most out of this constellation," says Gürtler.

It is also clearly discussed who plays when and how the division of tasks between the man on the bench and the goalkeeper is on matchday. Fritsche wants a "team in the team" on the goaltender position, and so far his plan seems to work. After the final whistle against Zehlendorf, Reuss and Gürtler stood with equally blank eyes on the lawn; Only the clothes gave information about who had been in the square. "He fits human well here and also to me," says Gürtler about Reuß, "and that's why we can all live well with it." Reuss's commitment was not a quick shot, but deliberate.

"On the personal level, this is a damper": The MSC keeper Felix Reuß (left) and Frederik Gürtler.

(Photo: Claus Schunk)

It's a typical hockey story that began last November. At that time the contact developed during the current Erstliga season, in which the MSC also played against Reuß 'former club, the club at the Alster. Reuß, who went through the junior national teams, was in the summer of 2017 before the breakthrough in the German A-squad, but injured in the last course before the World League hard. "That was pretty dramatic for him," says national coach Stefan Kermas. Reuss fell out with a torn muscle four months and rearranged his priorities. In autumn he got a job offer from his hometown Rosenheim – and took it at the expense of competitive sports.

For the rest of the season he commuted only to the match days to Hamburg. "But it did not work without weekday training," he says. The MSC offered him – although he was a goalkeeper in the competition – to participate in team training. There was two things until the end of the season: Fritsche experienced Reuß as an "energy provider", whose humor did the team well next to the place. Reuss noted "through the constellation with the MSC, that I have not yet ticked off the national team". Due to the proximity to his job, the MSC is also virtually without alternative for this season, especially since Kermas has no reservations about internationals in two-league teams. "This is not so crucial for a goalie," says the former MSC coach, "apart from that, even Olympic champions have played second-rate". Like Max Müller in Nuremberg's second division phase.

"Felix attacks again and the doors are open," says Kermas. And if the MSC converts into their remaining home games, which was so well done in the away-top game in the sharpest promotion rival in Mannheim, the second league remains possibly a transit stage – for Reuss and the MSC.

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