The German handballers start the hot phase of EM preparation at the weekend. The two country games against Russia’s Olympic Championship are considered the hardest test for the team of German coach Henk Groener on the way to the final round tournament in France (29th November to 16th December).
“Russia is a really strong opponent who will demand everything from us,” Groener said: “We will surely see, The main focus of the two games on Saturday (15:00 o’clock) in Dessau-Roslau and on Sunday in Nordhausen (15:00 o’clock) is “of course” on the preparation of the EM.
The country games are also the completion of a one-week course in Nordhausen.
Cinderella. The Dutch Groener, a successor of Michael Biegler since January, first joined his team since early June. Among the 21-players are also the two returnees Kim Naidzinavicius and Anne Hubinger.
Naidzinavicius (SG BBM Bietigheim) had drawn a crossband in the opening game of the Home World Cup against Cameroon last December, Hubinger (Thuringian HC) suffered a mid-foot fracture last October.
The new bid includes Mia Zschocke, Anna Seidel and Amelie Berger (all Bayer Leverkusen) and Lea Rauter (Buxtehuder SV). After the disappointing World Cup in their own country, many long-time performers such as Torfrau Clara Woltering or Captain Anna Loerper had ended their international career.
“We are on the move, but I think the team is growing together fast. That is why I am optimistic for the euro despite the heavy group,”said backroom player Emily Bolk. At the peak of the season in France, the DHB selection in the Pre-Round Group D in Brest meets champions Norway (December 1st), Romania (December 3rd) and the Czech Republic (December 5th).
“Especially with regard to this group it is important, “There is nothing better than a duel with the current Olympic winner,” said Bolk. And Groener added: “We also want to inspire as many people as possible for women’s handball with these games.”
The German edition:
Gate: Dinah Eckerle (SG BBM Bietigheim), Isabell Roch (TuS Metzingen), Lea Rauter (Buxtehuder SV)
Field: Franziska Muller (HSG Blomberg-Lippe), Ina Grandman, Meike Schmelzer, Anne Hubinger, Emily Bolk, Alicia Stolle (all Thuringians HC), Luisa Schulze, Kim Naidzinavicius (both SG BBM Bietigheim), Julia Behnke, Marlene Zapf, Maren Weigel, Shenia Minevskaja (all TuS Metzingen), Anna Seidel, Amelie Berger, Mia Zschocke (all Bayer Leverkusen), Maike Schirmer (Buxtehuder SV), Alina Grijseels (Borussia Dortmund), Xenia Smits (Metz Handball/France)