Kolding (dpa) – After the premature end of the European Championship, the disappointed handball women from Germany got the bitter realization on their return flight on Wednesday morning that they were far from ripe for a medal.
“At the big tournaments it becomes clear where our limits are. We are not yet as far as we had hoped and we have not really made any progress”, said national coach Henk Groener. And DHB sports director Axel Kromer said: “We cannot speak of a successful European championship.”
The 8:23 PM defeat in the final main round game against whiz kid Croatia, now playing for medals with defending champion France, record champions Norway and host Denmark, brutally showed the biggest backlog for the DHB women. When it comes to everything, they are not against the pressure and show blatant weaknesses, especially when it comes to closure.
“That is also a question of quality. We have too many players who do not train every day and play at the level they are confronted with at a European Championship or World Cup,” said Groener and demanded for the future: “If we turn around. To play medals, we need a team that works professionally. “
However, this is currently difficult to achieve under the prevailing conditions in Germany. “Even with the best coach in the world, we cannot resolve issues that have been neglected for twenty years in a shorter time,” said DHB chairman Andreas Michelmann. “We must now finally change our structures so that we can be successful in the medium and long term. Our goal is the World Cup at home 2025. Until then, we have a number of construction sites to work on.”
The DHB boss has explicitly ruled out the position of national coach. “We have an excellent trainer – both in terms of human size and technical skills,” Michelmann says of a job guarantee for Groener. The German handball association extended the contract with the 60-year-old Dutchman until December 31, 2021 last year.
The stony road to the top of the world is made even more difficult by the Corona crisis, which meant that targeted work was not possible this year. “We kept the level, but are not making any progress,” said Groener. A return to normal is currently not in sight due to the ongoing pandemic, which makes his task of preparing for the World Cup in December 2021 even more difficult. At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the DHB women are merely spectators.
Because the possibilities of influence in these special times are even less than normal, the national coach wants to make his protégés even more responsible. “It’s hard to tell the club coaches what to train. Every player has to work on their strengths and weaknesses,” he demanded, emphasizing: “We’ll see who grows and who doesn’t.”