European Championship preparation: partial success for German handball players in Wolff's comeback

Partial success in the double goalkeeper comeback: Germany's handball players have passed the first European Championship endurance test.

European Championship preparation: partial success for German handball players in Wolff's comeback

Partial success in the double goalkeeper comeback: Germany's handball players have passed the first European Championship endurance test. National coach Alfred Gislason's team scored 31:31 (16:18) in front of 4,601 spectators in Neu-Ulm in the first of two international matches against Olympic fourth-placed Egypt.

A good two months before the home European Championship, the DHB selection was also pleased about the return of regular goalkeeper Andreas Wolff and a strong performance by international debutant David Späth. The best throwers for the hosts were director Juri Knorr and right winger Timo Kastening with six goals each. On Sunday (5:15 p.m./ZDF) both teams will meet again in Munich.

Wolff initially on the bench

As expected, Wolff initially sat on the bench two months after his herniated disc. For him, Silvio Heinevetter moved between the posts of the German goal for the first time in two and a half years - the second highlight of the week for the 39-year-old veteran after the civil wedding on Monday.

Otherwise, Gislason initially relied on the forces that had proven themselves recently. The DHB team quickly found its rhythm and, after the early 0:2, pulled away with a 5:0 run to three goals. In the middle of the first half, however, there were some lapses in concentration in the attack, so that the African champions equalized at 8:8.

The national coach reacted with a time out because things weren't going as planned in defense during this phase. After 19 minutes the time had come: Heinevetter, who had been hapless until then, gave up his place for Wolff when the score was 9:11. The 32-year-old from top Polish club Industria Kielce couldn't do anything because the Egyptians kept getting free to throw. So we went into the break with a two-goal deficit.

DHB team more focused after the change

"After a good starting phase, we took ourselves out of the game. We had nine missed throws and six technical errors. As a result, we also clearly lost the goalkeeping duels," complained DHB sports director Axel Kromer.

After the change, U21 world champion Späth moved into the goal of the German team, which now acted much more aggressively and concentrated. The reward was the renewed lead at 20:19 after 36 minutes. As a result, neither team was able to gain a decisive advantage.

Important from a German perspective: As at the U21 World Cup in the summer, newcomer Späth presented himself in great shape and was therefore emphatically recommended for a European Championship nomination. Thanks to the 21-year-old's saves, the DHB team maintained a narrow lead until the final phase, but it could not be saved to the finish.

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