Dreams end with clap: handball men experience bitter Olympic end

Dreams end in clap
Handball men experience bitter Olympic end

Once they had been somewhat optimistic about “gold in Tokyo” as a long-term goal, now everything ends very dreary for Germany’s handball players: after a weak performance against Egypt, especially in attack, it ends early. You never got close to advancing, in the end there is a smack.

Flight home instead of semi-finals: Germany’s handball players failed in the Olympic quarter-finals and are returning from the summer games in Tokyo after a disappointing performance without the hoped-for medal. The DHB selection was defeated by Egypt with 26:31 (12:16) and was eliminated. “The disappointment is huge. It will have a long lasting effect,” said Uwe Gensheimer. Philipp Weber spoke straight out of a “shitty feeling”. The best thrower for the team of national coach Alfred Gislason, whom the association had signed for the medal mission in February 2020, was Julius Kühn with six goals. But they weren’t enough.

“We didn’t deserve to progress today,” said the coach. “We ran into an Egyptian wall today,” said goalkeeper Johannes Bitter. Timo Kastening listed on ZDF: “Defense, attack, goalkeeper, galling: We never got up to normal.” Instead of the German team, which won bronze in Rio in 2016, Egypt will now play against record world champions France on Thursday to make it into the final. The second semi-final round will be played by Olympic and world champions Denmark against European champions Spain.

All ideas fizzle out

At 29:27 in the last Olympic test, the DHB team had clearly dominated the Egyptians. But this superiority was no longer seen in the knockout duel at the Yoyogi National Stadium. The German team found no means at all against the offensive defense of the Africa champions. The result was a quick 5-1 deficit after nine minutes. The false start forced Gislason to take a very early break, during which he made tactical and personal corrections. For Paul Drux, Kühn moved into the left back space. The 28-year-old from MT Melsungen got off to a good start with two goals in a row.

But in defense, the DHB selection did not get access to the agile Egyptians, so that they could not connect. On the contrary: After 20 minutes, the fifth place in the European Championship was still behind with four goals at 7:11. The inclusion of youngster Juri Knorr, who shone with six goals at 29:25 in the decisive group game against Brazil, did not pay off either. The attack efforts of the DHB selection seemed helpless against aggressively defending Egyptians. So the Gislason troops took the heavy mortgage of a four-goal deficit with them into the cabin. “Egypt is difficult to stop in attack and very flexible in defense. We have to get more moving,” said DHB sports director Axel Kromer at half-time.

But it didn’t get better, because the Egyptians didn’t let up and kept the DHB team at a distance. A goalkeeper change – for Andreas Wolff came bitter – hardly had any effect. Ten minutes before the end Germany was still behind with four goals at 21:25. The hoped-for final spurt also failed to materialize. Rather, the DHB team made a lot of bad throws and slight ball losses, which Gislason pursued on the sidelines with a grim expression and arms crossed in front of his chest. So the Egyptians had an easy time of it and never got into trouble.