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Dimitri Ignatow and team qualify for U18 Euros main round

The DHB youth passed with perfect marks through their European Championship qualifying group and will now move on to the main round. MT youngster Dimitri Ignatow, a right wing, notched 18 goals in three matches, placing him among the top goal scorers at the tournament in Koprivnica, Croatia. The main round kicks off on Tuesday, 15 August.

With a dominating 25-18 (13-7) victory over Serbia in the final preliminary group match, the German squad locked in the top spot in its group in the U18 European Championship in Koprivnica, Croatia. Thanks to the third conquest in three matches, the all-stars assembled under the coaching trio of Jochen Beppler, Andre Haber and Klaus Langhoff earned every possible point in group play and will move into the main round carrying a 2-0 points advantage. The over-matched Serbs had already punched their own ticket to the main round, but will enter with a 0-2 point deficit. Top scorer for Germany was Dimitri Ignatow with seven goals.

"The defence played very well together, and the keeper behind them handled his chores ably when called upon", Beppler commented on the match. His sole point of criticism: "Midway through the first half and in the early parts of the second half we had a bit of trouble adjusting to the Serbian defence".

The next round opens on Tuesday (7 pm) against the winner of Group C, and then on Wednesday (5 pm) against the second place team from that group; both opponents will be determined on late Sunday afternoon during the last duels in the parallel group. Croatia (4 points), Sweden and Iceland (2 points each) will need to sort out who moves on and where.

"We're pleased that we're one of the top eight teams, but understand that in the main round matches it will come down to which team plays better that day. Croatia spent 50 days prepping for the tournament and the second team out of that group will also be strong, so we've got two tough nuts to crack", Beppler believes. He sees it as crucial that his team adjusts to the new rhythm of the throw-off times.

The top two teams from the main round groups will then qualify for the semi-finals on Friday in Koprivnica. Main Group 1 is comprised of France, Spain, Denmark and Slovenia.

Just as they did in the encounters against Portugal (34-19) and Poland (34-22), the German defence proved a true bulwark. After an even-matched start, keeper Till Klimpke and the defence barred the door tight, preventing Serbia from scoring even once over a ten minute stretch. It's no wonder that the goalkeeper was tabbed as Man of the Match: "All the praise is nice, but bigger challenges lay ahead", Klimpke said.

With the scoreboard reading 9-6, Andy Wolff worked to repeat his strong match against Slovenia a day earlier: the Dutenhofen player used a powerful dive to block a Serbian throw — giving a jolt of energy to his team, which then sunk two straight throws to take its first 5-goal load (11-6 on 27 minutes). By half-time the lead had grown to 13-7.

Serbia wouldn't crack double digits on the scoreboard until the 38th minute, at which point the DHB selection had already struck gold 17 times. During the late stages of the match, the German team continued its very stout defence and kept full control of the match.

Statistics Germany - Serbia in Koprivnica 25-18 (13-7)

Germany: Till Klimpke (HSG Dutenhofen), Tim Hottgenroth (TSV Bayer Dormagen);  Tim Matthes (Füchse Berlin/4), Robin Breitenfeldt (SG Flensburg-Handewitt/1), Sebastian Heymann (TSB Heilbronn-Horkheim/3), Niklas Diebel (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf/2), Lukas Stutzke (TSV Bayer Dormagen/1), Eloy Morante Maldonado (TSV Bayer Dormagen/2), Luis Villgrattner (HBW Balingen-Weilstetten), Lukas Kister (TSV GWD Minden/1), Gregor Remke (EHV Aue/3), Dimitri Ignatow (MT Melsungen/7), Jakob Knauer (Füchse Berlin), Ferris Klotz (THW Kiel), Marcel Timm (VfL Gummersbach/1), Moritz Strosack (SG Ottenheim/Altenheim). (Text and photo: www.dhb.de)

Germany's Preliminary Round Euros Fixtures in Koprivnica:

Germany - Portugal 34-19 (19-7), Ignatow 4 goals
Germany - Poland 34-22 (15-14), Ignatow 7 goals
Germany - Serbia 25-18 (13-7), Ignatow 7 goals

Germany's main round fixtures in Koprivnica:

Tuesday, 16 August, 7 pm: Germany - Winner of Group C
Wednesday, 17 August, 5 pm: Germany – Second place finisher from Group C

All matches from the U18 European Championship in Croatia are being streamed live here.

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