The German handball players have reported back at the European Championship in Denmark after a weak preliminary round. The team of national coach Henk Groener celebrated a clear 32:25 (13:11) victory against Hungary at the main round opener in Kolding and keeps its sights on reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2008.
The best thrower in the German team was backcourt player Emily Bölk with five hits. Goalkeeper Dinah Eckerle excelled with ten saves. With four points, the team of the German Handball Federation (DHB) is third in its main round group behind Croatia and record European champions Norway. The two best teams in each group reach the semi-finals.
“We’re glad that we were finally able to show what we can,” said captain Kim Naidzinavicius: “We didn’t do well in the last few games, but today we had a good defense, a good speed game.”
Both teams got into the game well, especially the German defense around the strong Eckerle shaped the early stages. Attackingly, the DHB women failed to break away early due to numerous false throws. Above all, the fast counter-attacks presented the Hungarians with major problems.
A two-minute penalty against Xenia Smits gave Hungary another boost – the DHB–Team stayed seven minutes without a goal. After the break, they came back thanks to the goals from Bölk. In the closing stages they expanded their lead even more and thus improved the poor goal difference after the historic 23:42 defeat against Norway.
After a day of rest on Sunday, World Champions Netherlands await on Monday (6.15 p.m.; Stream: sportdeutschland.tv), and Croatia will be on Tuesday (6.15 p.m.). This appointment had caused annoyance in the German camp, as the rest day between the last two games was canceled.