While no members of the Bundesliga team were tapped for the final selection to the Olympic team under National Coach Dagur Sigurdsson, and Marino Maric missed his own chance to join the Croatian team due to his broken foot, another MT player has claimed a spot on the international stage — even if not the biggest one of all in Rio. In the aftermath of friendly matches this past weekend against U19 runners-up Slovenia (27-17 and 27-25) Johannes Golla (18) has finally punched his ticket to the U20 European Championships, which begin this week in Denmark.
The MT pivot had been raising his game steadily even before his initial call-up to the national team by national coaches Markus Baur and Erik Wudtke earlier this year. He is now one of the solid core of 16 players who will go off in search of the title for Germany. There are two days of intensive strategic instruction still ahead in Flensburg before the team moves into its compound in Kolding, Denmark. Its first tournament match will come on Thursday (3:45 pm) against Sweden.
Other preliminary round opponents include Croatia (29 July, 4 pm) and Hungary (31 July, 4 pm). The first two teams in each group qualify for the main round, which is also to be played in Kolding, while the other two teams will play in a losers bracket in Vamtrup (games on 2 and 3 August). No matter how the DHB Juniors end up faring, they'll then play against teams from Group C (Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Macedonia).
All matches of the tournament will be streamed live on the internet here, giving fans the chance to follow Johannes Golla and his teammates as they proceed through the competition.
The U20 Squad for the European Championships in Denmark:
Goal: Paul Twarz (VfL Potsdam), Joel Birlehm (GWD Minden)
Field: Lukas Mertens (Wilhelmshavener HV), Tim Nothdurft (HBW Balingen-Weilstetten), Marian Michalczik (GWD Minden), Kevin Struck (Füchse Berlin), Tim Suton (TBV Lemgo), Björn Zintel (ASV Hamm), Franz Semper (SC DHfK Leipzig), Valentin Spohn (SG Leutershausen), Jerome Müller (HG Saarlouis), Stefan Salger (SG Leutershausen), Lars Weissgerber (HG Saarlouis), Moritz Schade (Dessauer HV), Patrick Gempp (TV Großwallstadt), Johannes Golla (MT Melsungen).
Bench: Paul Porath (HC Empor Rostock), Till Klimke (HSG Wetzlar), Sascha Pfattheicher (SG Leutershausen, Fynn-Ole Fritz (Füchse Berlin), Rico Keller (SG Kronau-Östringen), Alexander Falk (TSG Friesenheim), Noah Beyer (TuSem Essen), Robin Egelhoff (TV Hochdorf), Tillmann Pröhl (TV Emsdetten), Marcel Popa (SC Magdeburg), Yannik Münchberger (VfL Potsdam)