Tournament in the Czech Republic: Stars, mode and Germany's chances at the Ice Hockey World Cup

The Ice Hockey World Championship begins in the Czech Republic on Friday.

Tournament in the Czech Republic: Stars, mode and Germany's chances at the Ice Hockey World Cup

The Ice Hockey World Championship begins in the Czech Republic on Friday. Vice world champion Germany starts against Slovakia (4.20 p.m./ProSieben and MagentaSport).

Where is the game played?

The World Cup will be played in the Czech capital Prague and Ostrava. Germany plays in Group B in Ostrava. The final weekend with the semi-finals, the game for third place and the final takes place in Prague. The quarter-finals will be held in both Prague and Ostrava.

What is the mode?

The preliminary round is played in two groups of eight. The best four teams from both groups qualify for the quarterfinals. The last two from each group have to take part in the B World Cup next year.

What are the chances for Germany?

Germany is the runner-up in the World Cup and is once again starting with a strong squad. The quarter-finals are considered the minimum goal and are realistic. In the last seven World Cup tournaments, the German team has only failed to make it into the last eight once. In 2021, Germany reached the semi-finals under the then national coach Toni Söderholm, and last year the German Ice Hockey Association's selection under successor Harold Kreis achieved the best World Cup placement since 1953 as finalists.

Who are the German opponents in the preliminary round?

Like last year, the opening program is demanding. The German team will once again face the strongest teams in the Olympic third place Slovakia, the USA and the eleven-time champion Sweden. Possible opponents await in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Poland and France. However, in the last two friendly matches against France there was a defeat and only a narrow success after extra time.

Who are the favorites?

There is no top favorite this year. Record world champions and defending champions Canada have an extremely young and talented squad, including the 18-year-old exceptional striker Connor Bedard from the Chicago Blackhawks. Sweden and the USA have extremely strong teams. Hosts the Czech Republic with home advantage and Finland are also considered contenders for the World Cup. On good days, Switzerland and the German team can win against any opponent.

Which stars are there?

Canada traveled to Prague with future hope Bedard. Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle's teammate at the Ottawa Senators, Johnny Gaudreau (Columbus Blue Jackets) and top defensive talent Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils) stand out in the US squad. Sweden has three outstanding and powerful defensive players in Erik Karlsson (Pittsburgh), Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo) and Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay). World Cup hosts the Czech Republic have strengthened themselves with defender Radko Gudas (Anaheim Ducks) and goalkeeper Petr Mrazek (Chicago Blackhawks). But Germany's JJ Peterka is now also at the highest level in the NHL.

Where will the games be seen?

All German games and almost all of the knockout games are shown on free TV on ProSieben. ProSieben Maxx also shows other World Cup games. At MagentaSport, a total of 21 matches, including the German games, are shown in the stream for a fee. You can also watch all World Cup games on for a fee.

What else is important at the World Cup?

The 2026 Olympics in Milan are already in the back of our minds. For the first time since 2014, all NHL stars will fight for gold in Milan. Since there will only be the two world championships in the Czech Republic and next year in Denmark and Sweden before the Olympics, there are already more top players represented in Prague and Ostrava than ever before. Germany has already qualified for the Olympics. Because of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are still excluded from the title fights.