After easily fulfilling the mandatory task at the end of the World Cup preliminary round, national coach Alfred Gislason gave his players a high five "extremely satisfied". The German handball players then performed a short dance of joy on the floor in Kattowitz, Poland.
A few minutes after the 37:21 (16:9) success against Algeria, Gislason and his protégés were already looking towards the main round, in which the DHB team started on Thursday with 4:0 points against Argentina.
"We achieved the first goal and played well across the board. We're making fewer and fewer mistakes, which is extremely important," Gislason summed up after the third win in the third tournament game and announced: "Now we also want to win against Argentina."
In addition to the South Americans, Norway and the Netherlands are the other opponents of the DHB selection in the main round. "We're going into the main round with a lot of self-confidence. Everyone showed what they can do in the preliminary round and gained self-confidence. Of course the goal is the quarter-finals," said playmaker Luca Witzke.
Kohlbacher strong with ten hits
The best pitcher of the German team in front of around 1000 spectators was Jannik Kohlbacher with ten goals. "It's a win you can build on. We got the starting position for the main round that we imagined and wanted," said the pivot from Bundesliga club Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
Gislason had already announced before the game that he wanted to give many of his substitutes minutes. And the Icelander kept his word. Only captain Johannes Golla, goalkeeper Andreas Wolff and Patrick Groetzki started the game from the starting line-up. "I'm extremely happy about the performance of the second row," praised the national coach - even if the start was anything but perfect.
Algeria took the lead early on, and the DHB selection missed some of the best opportunities on the offensive. Wolff didn't really get into the game at first either. But the 31-year-old, like the entire team, improved. In the course of the first half he parried numerous attempts by the Algerians. So the DHB selection steadily pulled away.
Gislason: "The boys played very focused"
The North Africans, who are at most third-rate internationally, had already been at the bottom of their group after two defeats. Nevertheless, they tried to say goodbye to the preliminary round. But the longer the game lasted, the more they dismantled.
"The lads played very focused. We were a little afraid before the game that the steam was a bit out," said Gislason. "It was very important that we stayed focused and didn't shift down a gear. The guys did a great job."
This gave numerous DHB players the chance to find their way into the tournament and build self-confidence for the tasks ahead. Gislason sent Djibril M'Bengue from Bergisches HC to the plate in the middle of the first half, the backcourt player hadn't even been in action before.
Established forces get breaks
In addition, left winger Rune Dahmke was allowed to play, and playmaker Witzke also got a lot of playing time. Established forces like Juri Knorr, Lukas Mertens or Golla, on the other hand, were largely spared for the next phase of the tournament. "We had many opportunities to bring players into the tournament and to protect others," said DHB sports director Axel Kromer at halftime. "It's going according to plan."
That was also reflected in the second half. There was hardly any resistance from the Algerians and, unlike in the first few minutes, the Germans now used almost every one of their numerous opportunities. M'Bengue scored his first goals at this tournament, and Paul Drux also had his first goal.
And on the defensive, Joel Birlehm, who was strong against Serbia recently, proved that he forms a strong team together with Wolff. While Wolff was allowed to rest after the change of sides, the Rhein-Neckar Löwen keeper fended off numerous throws by the Algerians and then said: "We went through the preliminary round without losing any points. That's very nice, of course."