Thursday, August 5th, 2021
Worst record since 1996
Germany’s team sport fails at the Olympics
Of course, there are also some positive moments – but when looking at team sports as a whole, Germany is no longer among the world’s best, at least at the Olympics. That shows the weakest game record since Atlanta 1996.
In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the German soccer players and beach volleyball players ensured golden moments, and the soccer men, handball players and hockey teams also picked up precious metals. The team sports record in Tokyo is bleak, and for the first time since Atlanta in 1996 there was no medal.
Basketball: A win from four games, with each defeat the opponent had at least ten points more. That doesn’t sound good. But: The Tokyo qualification alone was a success for national coach Henrik Rödl’s team. Not much was missing against Italy at the start, the game was also open for a long time against Australia, against Nigeria the team showed what they can do. The only annoying thing is that the quarter-finals against Slovenia were so clear.
But it should not be forgotten that Dennis Schröder, Daniel Theis and Maximilian Kleber were missing three seasoned NBA professionals. That is also why confidence is in order with a view to 2022, when the home European championships in Cologne and Berlin rise. Despite the great summer, Rödl’s future is still open. It would be a bad time to change at the top.
Beach volleyball: Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler had the chance to spruce up the German record, but got stuck in the quarter-finals. The young team is already considered a beacon of hope with a view to Paris 2024. Karla Borger and Julia Sude, on the other hand, failed disappointingly early after three defeats, but had also caught a difficult group. Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch reached the quarter-finals, Ludwig’s dream of another gold coup after 2016 did not come true. It may attack again in Paris.
Handball: The German handball players dreamed of a medal, DHB Vice President Bob Hanning even of gold, but in the end it was mainly frustration after the quarter-final against Egypt. The former world champion trainer Heiner Brand speaks of a “quality problem” and professionals like Hendrik Pekeler also exercised clear self-criticism.
After the historically poor twelfth place at the World Cup in Egypt in January, it is the next setback for the German Handball Federation – one that should ring the alarm bells. The team of national coach Alfred Gislason was a long way away from the top of the world this year.
Hockey: After strong performances at the European Championship and also in the preliminary round with four wins, the hockey women in Tokyo played their way into the circle of favorites. But the rude awakening from the medal dreams followed in the quarterfinals with the clear 3-0 defeat against Argentina. The team of national coach Xavier Reckinger missed its goal and must learn from it. The men also lived the dream of Olympic victory, but in the end they are empty-handed for the first time since Sydney 2000. After the 4: 5 against India in the bronze medal game, bitter disappointment remains.
Soccer: One thing is clear: like before Tokyo, team-finding for an Olympic team will no longer be allowed to take place in the future. Including the loud background noise, the footballers were a big disappointment. The fact that coach Stefan Kuntz could not even get 22 professionals together for the Mission Medal cast a bad light on everyone involved. As a result, the team lacked the necessary quality to even survive the preliminary round.
In 2016 it looked very different. The men were in the final, the women even won gold. This time they missed the qualification and consequently could not prevent the weak image of the sport in Tokyo.
Rugby: The German teams were also not present at the second edition of the Olympic 7-a-side rugby tournaments. Both teams of the German Rugby Association (DRV) failed prematurely at the first European qualification tournament.
Volleyball: The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio took place without German participation and now there were also no German teams in Tokyo. The times when the men’s national team made intensive contact with the world’s best are over for now. Fifth at the 2012 Summer Games in London, third at the 2014 World Cup and second at the 2017 European Championship – national coach Andrea Giani’s team is currently a long way from such placements. For women, the German Volleyball Association is still waiting for the first Olympic participation since 2004 in Athens. But the young DVV selection gives hope that this could change in Paris in 2024.
Water polo: For the third time in a row, the German water polo players just watched the Olympics. When qualifying in February, the selection of the German Swimming Association (DSV) had no chance and lost all five group games. The restart for Paris 2024 will not be easier, many experienced national players no longer jump into the pool. Without Hagen Stamm, who is no longer available as a national coach, the figurehead, which had recently caused some upswing, is also missing. The fact that the German water polo players are not qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Japan makes the restart difficult.