Goalkeeper oldie Johannes Bitter officially says goodbye to the German national handball team during the international match against Denmark on Sunday in Hamburg.
"He has done a lot for German handball for a long time and is one of the great players in history," national coach Alfred Gislason said in recognition of the 40-year-old from Bundesliga club HSV Hamburg.
Bitter debuted on January 4, 2002 in the DHB selection and played a total of 175 international matches. "Each international match was something special for me. It's always a huge honor for me to play for Germany and hear the national anthem," said Bitter about his twenty-year selection period, during which there were a few interruptions.
Last use at EM
Bitter completed his last assignment in the DHB jersey at the European Championships in 2022. At the final round last year, the 2007 world champion, who had actually announced his temporary retirement from the DHB selection after the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, had a number of corona failures helped out again in the German team. "I can at least say that I was at what was probably the craziest tournament in DHB history," he said in retrospect.
"It's blatant that Johannes is now said goodbye to the national team," said DHB sports director Axel Kromer on Friday. "But I know that he would be ready to step in again at any time if the need arose. It's not planned to bring him back into the team again. That's why we're doing the farewell now. But just in case he would be back there."
Ending his career is currently not an issue for Bitter. He wants to remain between the posts at HSV Hamburg for "many years". "I still have the necessary fire and as long as I can give something to the team I want to play," said Bitter.