For the first time, a men's European handball championship is taking place in Germany. From January 10th to 28th, 24 teams will play in 65 games for the European crown.
There are already two highlights waiting for the DHB selection in the preliminary round: first the opening game in front of a record setting, then the amazing duel with the record world champion. The favorites have been decided, the German squad is set: this is how the home European Championship goes.
Where are the European Championship games taking place?
There are six venues in Germany: Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne, Mannheim and Munich. The DHB team - like record world champion France in Group A - will play its preliminary round games in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Groups B and E around Spain and Sweden play in Mannheim. Groups C and F with top favorites Denmark have to play in Munich. Norway is playing in Group D in the capital for a place in the main round. Should Germany qualify for the second phase of the tournament, it will continue in Cologne. The other main round games are scheduled for Hamburg. The final round will also take place in Cologne.
Who will Germany face in the preliminary round?
National coach Alfred Gislason's team found themselves in a tricky but solvable group. The most important game in the fight for the main round is the opening duel with Switzerland on January 10th. The game will take place in the Düsseldorf football arena in front of a world record crowd of more than 50,000 fans. “We have to get into the tournament well and then improve from game to game,” said Gislason.
On January 14th there is a mandatory task against North Macedonia in Berlin before the handball clash with France takes place two days later. The best two teams in each of the six groups of four qualify for the main round.
Who is part of the DHB selection squad?
The national coach is tackling the medal mission with four European champions from 2016, four U21 world champions and one newcomer. “We have a really strong team that has very high quality and just as much self-confidence,” said DHB sports director Axel Kromer.
In addition to goalkeeper Andreas Wolff (32), the veterans include the outside players Patrick Groetzki (34) and Rune Dahmke (30) as well as the backcourt players Kai Häfner (34) and Christoph Steinert (33). From the U21 team that won the World Cup title in the summer, goalkeeper David Späth (21), backcourt players Renars Uscins (21) and Nils Lichtlein (21) and pivot Justus Fischer (20) made it into the squad. Martin Hanne (22) makes his debut in the national team.
Where can you watch the games?
The Handball European Championship can only be seen in its entirety at Dyn. According to its own information, the paid internet broadcaster shows all 65 games of the tournament, of which at least 31 games are exclusive. The games of the German national handball team run at no additional cost in the first and second divisions, which had secured the rights for the home European championship several years ago. ARD and ZDF also show other games without the participation of the DHB team.
Who are the favorites?
World champion Denmark is the top favorite for the European Championship title. Players like the Füchse professionals Hans Lindberg, Mathias Gidsel and Lasse Andersson or Michael Damgaard from Magdeburg are well known to the DHB team from the Bundesliga. Defending champions Sweden, European Championship runners-up Spain and, above all, World Cup runners-up France are also to be expected. The DHB selection is aiming for a place in the semi-finals and is hoping for an effect like at the home World Cup in 2007, when the audience carried them to the World Cup title.
Is Germany already qualified for the Olympics?
No. The DHB team is still fighting for its ticket to the 2024 Summer Games in France. As European champions, the German team would qualify directly for the Olympics. This was achieved in 2004 and 2016. If the title doesn't work out, the team has already secured participation in one of the three Olympic qualifying tournaments in the spring thanks to fifth place at the World Cup last year. Hosts France, world champions Denmark, Japan and Argentina can already plan for the highlight on the Seine.