Tallinn (dpa) – Unimpressed by the difficult Corona conditions, the German handball players have successfully completed their most unusual business trip.
With a clear 35:23 (13:12) in the first international game in history against Estonia, the DHB team celebrated their second victory in the European Championship qualification in Tallinn and with 4: 0 points led the group 2 table early to the finale. 2022. The best pitcher for the team of national coach Alfred Gislason was Julius Kühn with nine goals.
“Overall, we played a lot better than in the last game. We were very disciplined and got ripped off, especially after half time,” said Gislason. “We put in a strong defense and everyone in the front relaxed towards the goal. We are taking a step in the right direction.”
The preparation was anything but normal. The German players had to undergo a corona test on Saturday after arriving in the Estonian capital and then had to be in isolation in their hotel rooms. Just a few hours before kickoff, the team was allowed to reunite for lunch after all test results were negative.
“It is a very unusual case that we could not do a final training and were quarantined from the plane. I hope that remains a one-off,” said Hendrik Pekeler. And top scorer Kühn added: “It’s not easy to play under these conditions.”
Despite the adverse side effects, fourth place in the World Cup started much more concentrated than in the difficult 25:21 opening win against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Düsseldorf last Thursday. After 18 minutes, the German team took the lead for the first time with four goals at 9: 5, as Melsungen’s backcourt scorer Kühn had a good day, scoring six times before half time.
But after 20 minutes, the DHB squad suddenly lost their sovereignty with a score of 11: 7. The Estonians, who had to give up eight players due to injuries and corona cases, felt their chance and came back with a 3-0 run. “It annoyed me how quickly we gave up the clear lead”, Gislason complained after the final whistle. “We made too many mistakes in this phase and threw the balls away in the front.”
After the change, the German team was wide awake again. At 20:13 (40th) the game was practically decided, especially since the fifth of the EM had no further weakness. The once again convincing defensive warrior Finn Lemke, who had brought Gislason back after a long pause, played a big part in this. The 2016 European champions gave the defense the necessary stability and were one of the winners of the European Championship week.
The national coach took advantage of the comfortable lead and changed hands halfway through the second half. Nonetheless, there was no interruption in the game of the DHB roster, which continuously extended the lead to 14 hits.
The next international matches for the German team are not scheduled again until the beginning of January. Then, just before the World Cup in Egypt, there are two European Championship qualifying matches with Austria. “Time is short,” said Gislason.