In front of a sold-out “Hütte” – 1.67 kilometers from Längenfeld – the 36-year-old finally went to the record. “The creepy atmosphere” was what Frank Ettwein identified even before kick-off. The childhood friend back home was also part of ‘Team Strobel’ as were many of the 2016 European champion’s longtime companions at HBW, the national team, his stint with the ex-champion TBV Lemgo and his nephews Bennet, Lenn and Max. .
“A good mix,” HBW coach Jens Bürkle said before the game. However, the sports scientist could only fall back on a decimated workforce.
HBW starts better
Nevertheless, the leaders of the second division had a better start (2:1/2.) ahead of the national and international big names in handball. “Despite a top-notch line-up”, as Dr. Rolf Brack put it formulated. The sports scientist from den Fildern, who coached “Team Strobel” with Markus Baur, was delighted to return to the district town. “With the game plan in hand,” remarked Baur smugly.
In front of more than 2300 fans, friends and former companions, Martin Strobel performed one last time in the Balingen SparkassenArena. “Team Martin” prevailed in the benefit game against HBW Balingen-Weilstetten with 28:27.
It turned out better as a result. The initial line-up with Martin Strobel, “Mimi” Kraus and Christian Zeitz at the back took some getting used to. Bad luck that Uwe Gensheimer failed free to HBW keeper Mario Ruminsky. On the other side, ex-Balinger Fabian Böhm and Hendrik Pekeler hit rock bottom in the middle block. Guilherme Linhares de Souza still found the gap and scored to make it 3-2 (8th minute).
The “Gaulois” kept the narrow advantage (5:4/10.). The Brack/Baur coaching duo saw the need for dialogue early on – also to change things. Now on record: The HBW Allstars around “Litty” Ettwein. Only Silvio Heinevetter from Stuttgart initially stayed in the box of the Strobel troupe. They are even further behind: 4:7 (12th). Sascha Ilitsch shortened. Bitter that Patrick Volz twisted his ankle and couldn’t play after a long injury break.
The All-Stars lead at the break
Bürkle therefore had only seven outfield players. However, the Swabians were further ahead: 8:6 (15th). Gregor Thomann fired the next ticket and HBW scored 9:6 (17th). Oddur Gretarsson kept Kempa’s three-goal lead (10:7/19). Heinevetter tried himself as an intermediary. With success: The ex-Berlinois shortened to 8:10 (21st).
Nevertheless, Brack saw a need for action and brought in his “third block”. Now with junior national player Bennet Strobel in the circle and future Balingen general manager Felix König in the middle. However, Lars Friedrich (22nd) closed the gap to 9:10. Strobel’s team remained on the trigger – also because Kiel goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva took three free players from the Swabians.
With his third goal, Friedrich gave the All-Stars their first lead: at 12:11 (27th). Bennet Strobel and Stefan Kneer increased the lead to 14:11 at the break.
Lukas Saueressig and Moritz Strosack also reduced the gap after the break (1:14 p.m. / 31st). The game continued to pick up speed – still with slight advantages for the Strobel selection. Friedrich refined a Baur pattern at 14:17 (34th). Despite the small band, the HBW remained (17:18/36.). With a nice pirouette in the legs of Mike Jensen, Gretarsson equalized and immediately scored the 19th goal for Balingen (38th).
Back in the lead, HBW hit the gas pedal – and Brack hit the brakes… Another timeout, another block change. From the perspective of Balingen fans, one person was missing: “Litty” Ettwein. He came on in the 43rd minute and scored from the circle to make it 23:21 for Strobel’s team (45th). They continued to widen their lead, while the “Gauls” gradually lost strength after a week of intensive training. Nevertheless, Linhares de Souza and Tobias Heinzelmann equalized again (25:25/52.).
Martin Strobel’s career ended at 27:28 in the 55th minute – after a double timeout from Baur and Bürkle. “A boy from Hausen has no scruples,” said Bernhard Bauer, honorary president of the Württemberg Handball Association, looking back on the longtime Balingen manager’s impressive career. The ex-national player said during his farewell: “I recently read a sentence: you don’t have time, you take it. I am incredibly grateful that so many players and spectators have taken the time to come here today. I can only say: we are one for eternity!“