The German handball players suffered their first World Cup defeat against Norway and missed out on the group victory in the main round. In the quarter-finals, it is now against France.
In Katowice, Poland, coach Alfred Gislason’s team lost to the Scandinavians 26:28 (16:18). In front of 4,500 spectators in the Spodek Arena, playmaker Juri Knorr was the German Handball Association (DHB) team’s most successful thrower with eight goals. The German team now travels to Gdansk, where they will face the French for participation in the medal matches on Wednesday (01/25/2023). In the event of a win or a draw, Spain would have been Germany’s opponent in the quarter-finals.
Gislason complains about the exploitation of chances
Against France gives hope that there was no more possible against Norway. “It’s a shame how we deal with very clean chances, especially in the second half. We should have brought the game home with better odds.”, said Gislason on the microphone of the sports program. The trainer can take with him into the next round the realization that “that the team has a great character and that we are also improving at all levels.”
“It is very clear that we are not playing our best game”, Knorr, 22, said on the sports show. There was a lot to do for the German team. “Of course, we live better with the defeat today than in two days. I still think that annoys us all a little bit.”said the playmaker, ahead of the game against France: “I am quite sure that we will appear with a different face on Wednesday.”
At first the Germans struggled against the fast and physical Norwegians and quickly fell behind by 1:4 – also because Joel Birlehm, initially allowed to play for regular goalkeeper Andreas Wolff, could not put the hand on the ball. . But as Norwegian superstar Sander Sagosen served a two-minute penalty for injuring Julian Köster in the face with his elbow, the German side came close. Juri Knorr, who either marked himself or skilfully staged his neighbors, played a major role in this.
Gislason, without Paul Drux (cold), then brought in Wolff for Birlehm and he did better or got lucky on his end. Nevertheless, the Norwegians remained in front, which was also due to goalkeeper Kristian Saeveras.
A high quality game
As a result, a sometimes high-class game developed, it went back and forth. Gislason rotated and changed his formation again and again, but the Norwegians were undeterred and had the answer for everything. When the team was down to three goals again at 12:15, Gislason called a timeout. The reward: Germany continued, Wolff parried a seven-yard throw against Sagosen – and suddenly it was 16:16.
But it wasn’t enough for the lead at half-time. Goran Johannessen scored first, then Knorr’s shot hit the post and Kristian Bjørnsen completed the counterattack. At 4:18 p.m. we left for a break. Until then, the fans had seen a match with a lot of speed and dynamics, in which the opponents had made no attempt to rest for the next quarter-finals.
Kohlbacher provides leadership, Bergerud exceptional
In the second half, Wolff and Knorr in particular continued where they left off. After eleven minutes, the Germans had equalized at 20:20, but the lead still didn’t work. This was mainly due to Norwegian substitute goalkeeper Torbjørn Bergerud, who chained saves one after another and again and again despaired the German offensive.
Whenever the Germans were about to take the lead, the Norwegians had an answer. The DHB team was good behind, but missed chances up front. There was often a lack of efficiency and assertiveness.
At 9:23 p.m. Gislason took another break and again the new announcements led to success – 24:24. After 51 minutes 40 minutes, the time had come. Germany took the lead for the first time thanks to Jannik Kohlbacher.
Red card for Luca Witzke, game overs
The Germans wanted to know and led their defense with courage and concentration. But Norway stayed and had the majority minutes before the end after a red card for Luca Witzke. The shrewd Scandinavians took advantage of this to win in a turbulent final phase, during which goalkeeper Bergerud again made some exceptional saves.
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