Handball European Championship: Germany loses to Denmark and misses the final

Germany's handball players stood frozen and looked disappointed at the hall floor.

Handball European Championship: Germany loses to Denmark and misses the final

Germany's handball players stood frozen and looked disappointed at the hall floor. At the moment of greatest disappointment, none of the completely exhausted DHB professionals noticed the encouraging applause from national coach Alfred Gislason. The German team missed out on a place in the final of the home European Championships after a big fight. The DHB selection had to admit defeat to the top favorite Denmark on Friday 26:29 (14:12) and will play for the bronze medal at the home European Championships on Sunday. The German seven is expected to meet Sweden there.

"I'm very proud of the boys, they delivered a phenomenal first half. We gave up too much in the second half," said Gislason on ZDF: "In the end, the Danes' routine prevailed, they are the best team in the world. " Captain Johannes Golla was also proud of the overall good performance, but also said: "Today wasn't the perfect day." This should now be in the game for third place.

Sweden initially had to admit defeat to the French 30:34 in the semi-final - but a little later the Scandinavians protested against the score. If the DHB team has a duel with Sweden, in addition to bronze, it will also be about a direct ticket for the Summer Olympics in Paris. A decision was still pending on Friday evening.

After the triumph in Slovenia in 2004 and the gold rush in Poland eight years ago, Germany must continue to strive for its third title at the European Championships. Nevertheless, the DHB team, in which Renars Uscins was the best thrower with five goals, has a chance to win a medal for the first time in five years. Back then, Germany lost the small final against France at the home World Cup and came fourth.

Gislason had called for his team to play “the best game in decades” and his players hoped for a “magical day”. And the German seven actually exuded a certain magic in the Cologne cauldron. The defense with the inner block duo Johannes Golla and Julian Köster was compact, the exploitation of opportunities was significantly improved - and Denmark seemed without ideas against impressive DHB professionals.

Germany was wide awake and forced the Northern European star ensemble around Füchse professionals Hans Lindberg and Mathias Gidsel to make numerous technical errors. Denmark's handball dominance was wobbling, the spectators accompanied each of their attacks with a shrill concert of whistles.

Germany maintained its narrow lead, but made more and more mistakes in attack without the ailing right winger Timo Kastening and the veteran Kai Häfner, who had already left for personal reasons. During this weak phase, we could once again rely on goalkeeper Andi Wolff and the German defenders, who repeatedly robbed Denmark of the ball. Two and a half minutes before halftime, the DHB team extended its lead to three goals for the first time. The hall was raging.

DHB sports director Axel Kromer praised the courage of the German team at halftime. “Insanely intense, emotional, merciless in defense and Renars Uscins rose from the ashes like a phoenix,” said Kromer about the U21 world champion, who set many successful accents.

Germany's courage left immediately after half-time and Denmark turned the game around. The fact that the world champion didn't completely run away was due to Wolff's once again outstanding parrying. The DHB team briefly recovered and the defense moved first class. There was no one left in the seats in the Cologne Arena.

On the Danish side, keeper Emil Nielsen was now at his best and thwarted one German attack after another. Gislason's team fought but looked exhausted. The movements were no longer as fluid as they were in the first half. Around 14 minutes before the end of the game, the top favorites took the lead with three goals for the first time. The Olympic silver medalist no longer gave up this lead and thus destroyed Germany's dreams of a gold medal at the home European Championships.