Drama without a happy ending: The German handball players lost the EC key game against Croatia with 24:25 (14:11) and thus hardly, despite an outstanding fighting performance and a great Andreas Wolff in goal still realistic chances of a place in the semi-finals. In the madhouse of the Wiener Stadthalle, the team of national coach Christian Prokop had the opponent under control for 45 minutes, but then the thread broke. Best German throwers were captain Uwe Gensheimer (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Philipp Weber (Leipzig), Timo Kastening (Hanover ) and Tobias Reichmann (Melsungen), who was successful four times from the seven-meter point, and each scored four goals.
With a petrified expression, Prokop commented on "ZDF" the presumably serious defeat: "This is totally bitter, the second half is the deciding factor. We no longer put the balls as we wanted them. In addition, we felt very, very often outnumbered in the second half. We fought really well, everyone fought for everyone, but in the end the result counts. "DHB team with the best half in the tournamentUwe Gensheimer saw himself" not really "able to analyze:" We didn't deserve to lose after such an achievement. Unfortunately, we made too many easy mistakes in the last ten minutes. "Against Croatia it was the expected game for every ball, every inch, every goal from the start. With an enormously aggressive defensive work and a quick switch to the tempo attack, the German players around the tricky idea maker Philipp Weber robbed their opponents of their nerves early on. "This is a great defense effort and a super awesome speed game," Prokop called to the players during the first time out: "Errors can happen, but I want you to go all out, you do it great." They went on and how , Six time penalties in the first half testify to an uncompromising defense that gruffly disenchanted Croatian stars Domagoj Duvnjak and Luka Cindric. The previously unbeaten Croatians couldn't think of much at the front, they had problems with the retreat behavior and were always surprised by Germany's quick center and the wacky outside players Uwe Gensheimer on the left and Timo Kastening on the right Wolff like a rock. In the first 30 minutes, the Croatians failed three times from the seven-meter point against the grim determination-radiating keeper. "Andi is fully there, especially he is now in the heads of the Croatians," said "ZDF" expert Sven-Sören Christophersen during the half-time break. "Andi, Andi" choruses in the madhouse of the town hall supported this thesis. The good defense against a strong goalkeeper enabled an optimal transition to the tempo game with which Croatia was simply overwhelmed. Germany acted unpredictably, surprisingly, with many variables in the moves. "We are pushing the pace like crazy, and we will continue to do so," said team manager Oliver Roggisch: "Sure, six time penalties are a lot at break, but we have made it our goal to play as aggressively as possible in the defense." the Croatian defense also got down to business. "I want you to go for striker foul," said Prokop, and that too worked extremely well. The Croatians couldn't think of anything, the German players were always a step faster on the ball, Duvnjak and his fellow soldiers looked sedate and completely amazed. Subterranean final quarter of an hour After the break, small lack of concentration crept back into the German game. Possibly a little too confident, the attack suffered slight ball losses and the defense let the Croatians get too close. "Now power again, that we can get back on the pace. We have solutions and we can do it," said Prokop, when the Croatians came up to one goal in the 47th minute (21:20). But the river never returned to the German game – the Germans only scored three goals in the final quarter of an hour, ultimately the Croatians had the better end for themselves.