Hanning celebrates heavy lots: Hammer group as a shortcut to the medal?

Hanning celebrates heavy lots
Hammer group as a shortcut to the medal?

Three strong opponents, two outsiders: the draw for the Olympic group is a stick-out for the German handball players. But that’s only bad news at first glance.

No, the drawing of the preliminary round groups for the Olympic Games is not in a good mood for the time being: The German handball players in Japan will face record world champions France, EM finalists Norway and European champions Spain. Rock-hard opponents, against none of these nations the German team is the favorite. Other opponents in the preliminary round at the Summer Games in Tokyo are Norway, Brazil and Argentina. The four best teams qualify for the quarter-finals.

It will be hard work not to face the winner of the parallel group in fourth place at the end of the group stage. That should be called Denmark – the only world class team in Group B. If the team of national coach Alfred Gislason beats one of the big competitors, DHB Vice President Bob Hanning’s calculation works. He was jubilant after the draw: “I was hoping for such a strong group. Our way to a medal may be easier this way.”

In addition to Norway and runner-up world champion Sweden, against whom the DHB team recently fought a draw in the qualifying tournament, Group B offers nominally weaker possible quarter-final opponents with Portugal, Bahrain, Egypt and hosts Japan.

“You don’t have to say much about Norway, France and Spain – we have very established teams as opponents,” said national coach Alfred Gislason. “We take it as it comes and look forward to the task.”

The German team will start the tournament against Spain on July 24th, followed by Argentina, France, Norway and Brazil. “As the German national handball team, we go into every game to win. We want to be as far ahead as possible in our group, but the first step is to reach the quarter-finals,” said DHB sports director Axel Kromer.

The German team had sovereignly made their participation perfectly in the qualifying tournament in Berlin in March. The World Cup in Egypt in January ended the DHB selection in a historically poor twelfth place. Nevertheless, the top of the association stuck to the goal of the gold medal. In 2016, the DHB selection celebrated the bronze medal.