Andreas Wolff excelled in goal, Juri Knorr as executor: After a successful dress rehearsal, Germany's handball players travel to the World Cup with a lot of self-confidence. In the 33:31 (19:14) against Iceland sixth in the European Championships on Sunday in Hanover, the DHB selection convinced with enthusiasm, teamwork and passion.
The performance in front of 10,043 spectators in the sold-out arena, in which Wolff in particular shone with numerous saves and playmaker Knorr as the best thrower with 13 goals, made us look forward to the World Cup from January 11th to 29th in Poland and Sweden. There, the DHB selection meets Asian champions Qatar, Serbia and Algeria in the preliminary round.
"You could see that the first suit fits very well, but the width is a bit lacking," analyzed national coach Alfred Gislason. "We still have a lot of room for improvement and will now prepare intensively for Qatar."
Unlike the unnecessary and annoying 30:31 defeat the day before, in which the German team lost a six-goal lead, the DHB selection in the second duel with the Icelanders was wide awake right from the start.
However, Gislason's protégés were initially unable to gain any significant advantage because the defense rarely got hold of the nimble Vikings in the early stages. Guest coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson decided not to use his stars Aron Palmarsson and Omar Ingi Magnusson.
The DHB selection in attack went almost consistently well, where Knorr once again skilfully pulled the strings. The 22-year-old from Rhein-Neckar Löwen could hardly be caught and proved to be a safe executor in the seven-metre throw. The youngest in the German World Cup squad had already shone in the first duel as a preparer and executor. “We have a good team. Maybe we can catch a wave in the finals and play our way into a flow," said Knorr.
In the middle of the first half, the DHB team, in which Wolff was once again a strong support, pulled away by five goals to make it 14:9 (21st). Shortly before the break, the 31-year-old parried a seven-metre throw, allowing the hosts to take the comfortable cushion into the dressing room.
After the change, Joel Birlehm replaced Wolff between the posts. Gislason also made some other changes in personnel. And again the rhythm was lost. At 23:22 (39 th ) the lead was almost wasted, which prompted the national coach to take an early break. The equalizer came shortly afterwards.
Now it was a duel at eye level, in which Wolff returned between the posts and gave the defense more security again. That paid off in the end, because in the final phase the men in front kept their nerve and brought home the win. “Of course it's good to finish the preparation with a win. Now we are happy that things are finally getting serious,” said Captain Johannes Golla.