Handball EM: For the German team, it’s a trip into the unknown

Handball European Championship 2022
Corona, failures, strong opponents: What you need to know about the German national handball team

The national players Patrick Wiencek (center) and Johannes Golla applaud coach Alfred Gislason after the successful test match against France

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The handball championship starts on Thursday in Slovakia and Hungary. After numerous cancellations, the DHB team came with a younger squad and is considered an outsider – and Corona will also play a role.

The situation of the German national team before the handball championship

The German national handball team moved into their hotel in the Slovakian capital Bratislava on Wednesday and will host the group matches there. The team of national coach Alfred Gislason is only considered an outsider at the EM. Numerous top performers such as Hendrik Pekeler or Fabian Wiede have canceled for family reasons or due to overload. Hopeful Yuri Knorr is missing because he does not want to be vaccinated.

The cancellations have led to a radical change, Gislason had to nominate eight young and inexperienced players. With Julian Köster from VfL Gummersbach there is even a player from the 2nd division traveling with us. The captain is Johannes Golla from SG Flensburg-Handewitt. “It may be a shame for the current European Championship because we are not playing with the best players and we are not eligible for a medal. But in the long term it will help a lot that the boys now get a lot of playing time,” said Gislason in one Interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. There is secret hope of creating a surprise, like the last time we won the European Championship in 2016. The two wins in the friendly against Switzerland and especially against Olympic champion France give hope.

The German squad at a glance:

Goal: Andreas Wolff (KS Vive Kielce / POL), Joel Birlehm (SC DHfK Leipzig), Till Klimpke (HSG Wetzlar)

Left winger: Marcel Schiller (Frisch Auf Göppingen), Lukas Mertens (SC Magdeburg)

Back left: Julius Kühn (MT Melsungen), Sebastian Heymann (Frisch Auf Göppingen), Julian Köster (VfL Gummersbach)

Back center: Philipp Weber (SC Magdeburg), Luca Witzke (SC DHfK Leipzig), Simon Ernst (SC DHfK Leipzig)

Back area right: Kai Häfner (MT Melsungen), Djibril M’Bengue (FC Porto / POR), Christoph Steinert (HC Erlangen

Right winger: Timo Kastening (MT Melsungen), Lukas Zerbe (TBV Lemgo)

Circle: Johannes Golla (SG Flensburg-Handewitt), Jannik Kohlbacher (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Patrick Wiencek (THW Kiel)

The group opponents

Group D is tough as hell. With Poland and Belarus, the German team is facing strong opponents who have numerous professionals of international class and Champions League experience in their ranks. The third group opponent is Austria, which has become stronger in recent years. Only the first two groups move into the main round, which in turn is divided into two groups.

Game dates of the German team

01/14/2022, 6 p.m .: Germany – Belarus (ARD)

January 16, 2022, 6 p.m .: Germany – Austria (ARD)

January 18, 2022, 6 p.m .: Poland – Germany (ZDF)


The fourth corona wave, which is sweeping through Europe at the moment, could have a decisive influence on the outcome of the EM. Poland, the third group opponent of the Germans, currently reports seven corona failures. In order not to endanger the EM, the quarantine time was shortened to five days. Then you can test yourself free. Ex-national player Stefan Kretzschmar even considers the corona factor to be decisive. “I’m worried. With the Covid lists that are published every day, the question is not who will be European champion under regular conditions, but who will get through the best,” said the 48-year-old in an interview with the newspaper ” Daily mirror “.

The German team is satisfied with the hygiene conditions in the hotel and in the hall in Bratislava (national coach Gislason: “Everything is very correct”). The French, on the other hand, who play in Szeged, Hungary, complained massively about the conditions in their hotel. Despite the promises, tourists live there who apparently do not adhere to any corona rules. There are no spectator restrictions in the Hungarian halls, they can be used to full capacity. Nobody can predict what this will mean for the teams. In Slovakia, the halls are allowed to use up to 25 percent of their capacity.

Sources: DPA, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, German Handball Federation

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