The objectives? Alfred Gislason stuttered. Well, after a short break, the handball coach said: “The goal is traditional with us, reaching the semi-finals as far as possible. In this constellation, however, I do not believe, that it is realistic for the first time.”
Gislason had just named his 20-headline WM bid with four tournament debutantes –but with big-track battle announcements for the upcoming mega event in Egypt (13th to 31st January) and did not want to serve after the many cancellations in advance.
” Set goals because we have a completely new, partially inexperienced team,”said Gislason, and seemed almost as if these sentences were causing him physical pain three weeks before the start of the World Cup adventure. One will now watch from game to game.
Gislason, the man of titles and triumphs, the coach who has won with the THW Kiel for years everything there is to win in handball, must first bake smaller rolls before his first tournament as DHB coach. Instead of reaching for the medals with a full and recorded chapel, it is important for the Icelander to form in record time a new, powerful team around Captain Uwe Gensheimer.
“I look forward very much to this task,” Gislason said at the virtual Kader announcement and spoke of “some inexperienced, but highly talented”players. Of course it takes some time, but it is a very beautiful and creative work.”He was”very excited about what this team can bring. Nevertheless, I am aware that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Four players without tournament experience
With Gensheimer, the two Keepers Johannes Bitter and Silvio Heinevetter as well as six 2016 European champions (Andreas Wolff, Julius Kuhn, Christian Dissinger, Kai Hafer, Tobias Reichmann and Jannik Kohlbacher) still have several established tribal forces at their disposal. But Juri Knorr (two country games) and Marcel Schiller (9) as well as the two DHB novices Sebastian Firnhaber and Antonio Metzner still have no experience at an international major event, and David Schmidt is only entering nine country games.
“We may have only a few world stars with us at the moment, but we have a broad lead,”said DHB Sports Board Axel Kromer. The association relies on the Olympic Games as additional motivational sprinkles. In the absence of several tribal forces (Wiencek, Pekeler, Lemke, Weinhold declined coronally, Wiede after injury) the players had finally “the chance, to be able to hand over their business card in person”.
Brand gives itself confidently
World Championship Coach Heiner Brand is in any case confident in spite of the personal situation.” We have, I have looked at the cadre, still a very good team and a very interesting team composition,”he said at Sky Sport News. You shouldn’t use the World Cup title as a default, “but you have to be on top of it. That should be a goal. I regard a semi-final performance as realistic.”
Kromer also opened a back door to the voluntarily renouncing DHB stars on Monday. This gives all players the chance to join the team in the future. To this end, the World Federation of IHF has given the green light. In total, Gislason can make five changes in his cadre during the World Cup, but in previous tournaments the trainers were only allowed to change three times.
In the immediate preparation of the World Cup on the 3rd January in Neuss, however, the 20-nominated players start first on Monday. For them, it is after two EM qualifying games against Austria (6th and 10th January) on the 12th January after Egypt. Uruguay (15th January), Cape Verde (17th January) and Hungary (19th January)