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22:22 – Austria’s handball heroes make Germany tremble

22:22 – Austria’s handball heroes make Germany tremble
Celebration of an excellent performance: Lukas Herburger (center) warmed goalkeeper Constantin Möstl, who made an outstanding save.
Image: APA/Eva Manhart
Lukas Hutecek and Mykola Bilyk celebrate a direct hit.
Image: EVA MANHART (APA/EVA MANHART)

Austria’s handball heroes cannot even be stopped by EURO hosts and title co-favorites Germany. Ales Pajovic’s protégés once again outgrew themselves and spoke of a “lost point” after the 22:22 (12:11) in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, which was completely sold out with 20,000 spectators. Rightly so. Because the brilliantly prepared ÖHB selection was already five goals ahead (21:16).

So there is also a crying eye involved. Nevertheless, the chance of reaching the semi-finals is still alive. Austria is one of only three teams (along with France and Denmark) that are still undefeated in this tournament. On Monday (6 p.m., ORF 1) there will be a duel with the Grande Nation, and at the end of the main round the opponent will be Iceland on Wednesday (3:30 p.m., ORF 1).

“Now we’re shaking,” was the headline in the German BILD newspaper: “Draw after almost embarrassment against Ösis.” The home team never really got going, always chased after them and at times despaired of the outstanding red-white-red goalkeeper Constantin Möstl.

The man with number 98 put in a world-class performance and didn’t let a rib injury that he suffered shortly before the break after falling against the bar affect his flow. Möstl parried 46 percent of the opponent’s throws, he was the rock in the surf and without a doubt the “Player of the Match”.

“That was incredible”

The Austrians’ top scorer was THW Kiel captain Mykola Bilyk, who scored five goals. “Again this team spirit – the whole European Championship. Germany is physically very strong, but the way we fought was unbelievable. We also played against 20,000 fans. Hats off,” said Pajovic in amazement. His boys playfully shrugged off the shrill whistle concert. A number of pole shots ultimately prevented the mega sensation. But even this draw is a surprise.

Lukas Hutecek and Mykola Bilyk celebrate a direct hit.
Image: EVA MANHART (APA/EVA MANHART)

It’s a lot of fun to watch this team. “A point against Germany – that’s an unbelievable feeling. After this performance you actually have to win it. But we can be really proud,” emphasized Bilyk.

The fact remains: Germany has never lost a competitive game against Austria; the two rivals last met at the 2022 European Championship. At that time, Austria lost relatively clearly 29:34. Times seem to have changed.

As of now, the semi-finals are closer for Austria than for Germany.

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