On Saturday the team and 350 of its closest friends, supporters and sponsors celebrated the traditional MT summer festival at Haydau Cloister. By Sunday the team was headed off to an eight-day training camp on the Fleesensee in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. To get their athletic juices flowing, Roth's team made a planned stop on its journey for a scrimmage against 3rd Bundesliga side Oranienburger HC. The North Hesse squad overcame its six-week break without problem, cantering to an effortless 31:24 (15:10) victory.
It was yet another grand festival at the feet of the almost 800-year-old Haydau Cloister in Morschen. The biggest fear of the organisers — stormy weather — proved unfounded. To the contrary, things stayed warm and dry, letting the Bundesliga team and its more than 350 invited guests, including Bundesliga President Uwe Schwenker, Dr Walter Große, CEO of the Board at Primary Sponsor B. Braun, Melsungen Mayor Markus Boucsein and the head of Kassel's Sports department, Christian Geselle, enjoy a fine evening under the open skies.
The attendees were first greeted by Supervisory Board Chairwoman Barbara Braun-Lüdicke and President Axel Geerken, and then Coach Michael Roth took the microphone with his familiar joking style to present the team — and in particular new recruits Arjan Haenen and Gabor Langhans. And with that achieved, Alexander Hess — Director of Hotel Kloster Haydau — opened the lavishly appointed buffet. Musical fireworks followed, with hits from the funk, soul, pop and rock genres played by "Munique", an eight-person international band that proved highly effective at getting guests out on the dance floor. It was a fantastic evening but as always over too soon — DJ Giorgio sent the guests on their way home with some calming "nocturnal music".
Off to training camp the next day
The Bundesliga players actually had to leave the summer festival early. They knew Coach Roth had set the departure for training camp at 9 am the next morning. On the way to Fleesensee on the Mecklenburg Lakelands the MT convoy made one scheduled stop on Sunday in Oranienburg. After six weeks off, the MT cracks now had their first chance to get hands-on with the ball in a game situation. Hosts Oranienburger HC, a third league side, already had three preseason weeks behind it.
No surprise then that the hosts, led by former MT goalkeeper Simon Herold, were smoother with the ball in the initial stages. The heavily favoured Bundesliga squad eventually found its rhythm and took control, though. Coach Roth sent in all healthy players available to him and by the end expressed satisfaction with the scrimmage: "After the intermission we had to pull ourselves together a bit, but you could then begin to see that we're just starting to get back up to speed and haven't had a single live-ball practice yet", the Melsungen coach noted.
"I was well aware how good the boys from Oranienburg can be, because I had played with a number of them when I was with the Füchse Berlin. And it was definitely lots of fun, not least because it had been six weeks since we'd had the ball in our hands", said MR right wing Johannes Sellin, quoted in the Oranienburger Anzeiger newspaper.
MT: Villadsen, replaced in 31st minute by Paske - Haenen 5/2, Langhans 2, Sellin 2/1, Fahlgren 1, Danner 5, P. Müller 2, Boomhouwer 3, Schneider 2, Allendorf 5/2, Vuckovic 3, M. Müller 1, Grolla.
Attendance: 632, MBS Arena Oranienburg.
Next Test on Sunday in Hamburg
Training camp kicked off with a test match and it'll end the same way. This time the MT will stop by 3rd Bundesliga team Sportverein Hamburg on the way back from Fleesensee, on Su. 31 July. Throw-off in the Sporthalle Hamburg — coincidentally the same spot where exactly 20 years ago the MT made its first appearance in the DHB Cup Final Four — is scheduled for 3 pm. There will also be a chance to see Jan Forstbauer, who last season was still wearing the MT shirt.