Everything in itself is as beautiful as it has been for years. The German national ice hockey team has not won five consecutive preliminary rounds at the World Championships. This is a proud record. Especially in a year in which ice hockey had nothing against weaker teams at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, apart from an embarrassingly narrow victory against fringe nation China.
And yet these days they are not just happily mingling with the German national team at the World Cup in Finland, but self-criticism is the order of the day – and not much less. After the final preliminary round game, hardly anyone in the German camp could achieve anything from 5:4 against Kazakhstan. “We have to play more consistently now and analyze that,” said Leon Gawanke, a Berlin-born defender who is active with the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League.
After Halligalli 9:4 against Italy, national coach Tony Soderholm was once again not satisfied with the defensive performance of his players. The Finns always prefer 1:0 – like 5:4 – against the stronger Danes. Soderholm was then reportedly absent on Tuesday due to a “minor illness”, which should have nothing to do with Kazakhstan’s game.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Nachrichten aus Berlin, Deutschland und der Welt live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
Despite all the self-criticism and criticism of the German game, a deciding factor is often overlooked: the Germans, other than a 3:5 against world champion Canada at the start, always found a way to win the game and were overall confident. were. Attack: 23 goals in six matches is a good mark.
Whatever happens next, the tournament has already been successful from the German point of view with a safe participation in the quarter-finals. Soderholm’s players would hardly do worse than sixth place.
Switzerland become favorites for the title
It is also possible that – as happened at the 2021 World Cup in Latvia – it will go beyond the quarter-finals. The last group game (11.15am, Sport1) against Switzerland on Wednesday has a decent test run en route to the knockout stages. With a clear German victory, first place in the group is still possible, which is unimaginable.
The Swiss have been their strongest team in their debut years, play at an incredible pace and have clearly become one of the favorites for the title, after six consecutive victories, including 6:3 against Canada. And of course there is still an open account from 2021: the Germans won the World Cup quarter-final against the Swiss after a 2-0 loss following a penalty shoot-out.
However, Gawanke, who scored it a year ago to make it 2-2, says: “At the time everyone thought they would kick us out of the hall and then things fell apart.” Goes along and plays dynamically at times in a 2-1 win against Canada or against Slovakia.
And it will depend on the goalkeeping performance. Söderholm may have played a bit of a gamble recently when he put on Mathias Niederberger (against Italy) and then Dustin Strahlmeyer (against Kazakhstan) in goal – Philipp Grubauer could lose his momentum. However, the game against Switzerland is also a good practice for him in the quarter-finals on Thursday – perhaps against Sweden.
The trick is to do well with people who can and want to play
The recall of Tim Stutzl at the World Cup by his NHL club Ottawa Senators after his harmless injury is certainly not productive for the German game. Of course, the best German strikers are missing from the team, along with Leon Draistel, Dominic Kahun, Friedrich Tiffels and now Stutzl – but the trick is to play well with those who want to play and play.
[Mehr guten Sport aus lokaler Sicht finden Sie – wie auch Politik und Kultur – in unseren Leute-Newslettern aus den zwölf Berliner Bezirken. Hier kostenlos zu bestellen:leute.tagesspiegel.de]
Söderholm is upset that the game sometimes lacks consistency. “But it’s crying at a high level,” says the national coach. this is right. In 2021, his team failed in the preliminary round of the World Cup against a rival like Kazakhstan. It couldn’t be any worse.
Web guru. Amateur thinker. Unapologetic problem solver. Zombie expert. Hipster-friendly travel geek. Social mediaholic.