The German junior national team has kept alive its dreams of semi-finals and podium trips at the U20 European Championship in Denmark. In their final match of the preliminary round, the team under coaches Markus Baur and Erik Wudtke enjoyed an easy canter against Hungary, prevailing 30-22 (17-12). Top goal scorers were TIm Nothdurft and Marian Michalczik, with five goals each. MT pivot Johannes Golla also contributed a goal to the win.
With wins against Sweden (27-23) and Croatia (29-22) already under the belt, the DHB team finished as winner of their group with 6:0 points and an outstanding goal differential of +19. As such they take 2:0 points with them into the main round, which begins on Tuesday. Based on its 30-28 win against Sweden on Sunday, Croatia became the other team to qualify for the main round from Group D, but starts out with 0:2 points.
Germany's opponent for their first two matches of the main round (Tuesday and Wednesday in Kolding) remains open. The final matches in Group C between Denmark/Norway and Netherlands/Macedonia will fill in the blanks. On Tuesday Baur's team will enter into a duel with the winner of Group C, followed by a match against the second place finisher from Group C on Wednesday. Teams qualifying for Main Round Group I include France, Poland (both from Group A) as well as Spain and Iceland (from Group B).
As during the first two group stage matches, a strong defence and quick stark proved decisive factors for the quick and clear lead against Hungary. After progressing to 2-2 early on, the German team went on a run through the 15th minute ending at 11-4. Hungary was left with little room to roam on attack, thwarted repeatedly by the bulwark of the DHB backcourt. From there until half-time the German lead shrank slightly to 17-12, but at no point did the DHB squad seem out of control of the situation.
But the reigning U20 European champions come out of the dressing rooms sluggish and Hungary scored five times in a row, levelling things at 17-17 (41.). The match seems in danger. The DHB team righted the ship with a mini-run, regaining their lead at 21-18 on 46 minutes. But Hungary, who Germany had beaten by a ten goal differential two years ago at the U18 Euros, was unwilling to go down without a fight.
Even so, eight minutes before the close the path to victory seemed clear at 24-19, with a stalwart defence on display that allowed only five goals in the final 19 minutes of play. The victory also meant the team had won Group C.
Marian Michalczik, voted Man of the Match, said after the final whistle: "We started out well, with a compact defence and strong keeper play, and up front everything ran great. We've got to clean up that slow start to the second half, though. We kept trying to finish too early instead of playing out our chances. But then we got things going again."
All Euros matches are being streamed live on the internet at http://livestream.com/m20euro. For more information about the DHB Juniors, please visit www.dhb.de/junioren.
Statistics Hungary / Germany in Kolding 22-30 (12-17)
Germany: Paul Twarz (VfL Potsdam), Joel Birlehm (GWD Minden); Lukas Mertens (Wilhelmshavener HV/4), Tim Nothdurft (HBW Balingen-Weilstetten/5), Marian Michalczik (GWD Minden/5), Kevin Struck (Füchse Berlin), Tim Suton (TBV Lemgo/3), Björn Zintel (ASV Hamm-Westfalen/4), Franz Semper (SC DHfK Leipzig/2), Valentin Spohn (SG Leutershausen/1), Jerome Müller (HG Saarlouis/), Stefan Salger (SG Leutershausen), Lars Weissgerber (HG Saarlouis/1), Moritz Schade (Dessauer HV/1), Patrick Gempp (TV Großwallstadt/3), Johannes Golla (MT Melsungen/1.
Text & Photo: dhb.de