The defeat in the European Championship semi-finals against Denmark continues to have an impact on the German handball players. There isn’t much time to mourn, there are still two big goals.
Juri Knorr still hadn’t gotten over the end of the German handball players’ gold dream at the home European Championships after a “short night”. The duel for bronze with Sweden on Sunday (3 p.m./ARD and Dyn) in Cologne was very far away for the playmaker. “It’s disappointing when you wake up the next morning and think there was more possible. In my head it’s only the semi-finals, not a game for third place,” admitted Knorr.
His teammates, on the other hand, were combative again. “It would be fantastic if we could hang a medal around our necks again. Our tanks are probably already empty, but we have a great team with strong characters. We will use every bit of energy we still have in our bodies “Promised goalkeeper Andreas Wolff.
Olympic qualification final
This is exactly what national coach Alfred Gislason is counting on, as the German team is not just concerned with the first precious metal at a major tournament since winning bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “This is also a final for the Olympic qualification, so we have to give it our all. The boys can take a lot of positive things with them, even if they are very disappointed,” said Gislason.
DHB sports director Axel Kromer also focused on the small final shortly after the final whistle. “We are playing against Sweden for European Championship bronze and the Olympic ticket for Paris. That is fantastic and a huge goal,” said Kromer.
Cologne cauldron as a trump card
It is the first chance for the German team to win a medal at a major tournament since the World Cup five years ago, when the game for third place was lost to France. “After the semi-finals, there is only one team that goes home empty-handed. That doesn’t want to be us,” emphasized Kromer and added, referring to the mood in the Cologne handball temple: “We experienced that in 2019, we did “But we can’t play the medal game in front of our home crowd. That’s perhaps a trump card that we can build on this time.”
The duel with the record champions, who won their fifth European title two years ago, will be a top priority for both teams. The Swedes were also devastated after the dramatic defeat against Olympic champions France.
Knorr expects more from himself
“It will be about who wants it more at the end of a long tournament. We will do everything to ensure that it is us,” said DHB captain Johannes Golla. Backcourt player Julian Köster also has no doubts that the team will once again pull themselves together. “The medal is motivation enough. If we can also make it to the Olympics with it, everyone will be motivated to the tips of their hair,” said the 23-year-old.
But does this also apply to Knorr? He still seemed dejected on Saturday. “I expected more of myself, that I would take on more responsibility, leave my heart on the record and give it my all,” Knorr once again struggled with his performance.
Gislason accuses Knorr of “not much”.
Already after the final whistle of the game on Friday evening, with almost ten million people watching in front of their TV sets, Germany’s best European Championship shooter was harshly critical of himself. “I don’t want to be the kind of athlete who is happy when he reaches the semi-finals. I want the greatest thing to come out. I was here to win and would have liked more,” said Knorr and added: “It just does “It’s a shame not to have given everything.”
The national coach could not understand the harsh self-criticism. “Of course he could have done better. But I don’t have much to blame him for,” said Gislason. However, the 64-year-old Icelander is confident that he will be able to get Knorr out of his mental slump in time. “We’ll put that aside now. The players should take the positive with them. We now have to focus on Sweden,” he demanded.
Some of his protégés did that shortly after the 26:29 win against Denmark. “Sleep once, watch videos and then we talk about a new goal. That now means bronze,” said U21 world champion Renars Uscins. And left winger Rune Dahmke promised: “It’s like a final for us. We’ll put up a full fight.”
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