A fantastic start for the German national handball team into the World Championship at home. In the first match the team from Korea had no chance.
The relieved national coach Christian Prokop clapped his hands with each of his players, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier applauded enthusiastically on the grandstand: "The German handball players made a dream start at the home World Cup and ensured a black, red and gold opening party with the sovereign 30:19 (17:10) against the united team Korea."
Team captain Uwe Gensheimer, the goalkeeper Andreas Wolff and Co. waved their way into the crowd after the successful start into their medal mission and enjoyed the atmosphere. "We longed for this day and invested everything in it. We were already tense. All the players found their way into the tournament," said Prokop on German TV.
The best thrower of the German Handball Federation (DHB) selection was Gensheimer with seven goals. "That was great for the start. A good start was important for us. The atmosphere was an outstanding experience. Now we know what to expect," said Gensheimer.
The three-time world champion continued a remarkable series with his loosely played success against his international second-rate opponent. The last World Cup opening defeat was against Denmark 45 years ago (11:12). With another victory on Saturday against Brazil, the German team can set the course for the entry into the main round.
Under the eyes of Germany's president Steinmeier, who officially opened the 26th World Cup before the throw-off, and IOC boss Thomas Bach, a chapter in the history of unification was written in front of 13,500 spectators in the sold-out Mercedes-Benz Arena in the former Berlin Wall city.
Korea with historical performance
For the first time the politically hostile brother nations from Korea competed in a handball world championship with a joint team and thus embarked on a peace mission that attracted worldwide attention. "This is a great sign when a united Korean team is now competing in the formerly divided city of Berlin," said Bach.
However, the host was just as unimpressed by this as he was by the biting comments of former European champions Tobias Reichmann, who had been sorted out just a few hours before the start of the tournament. The Olympic bronze medallist, superior in all respects, offered a concentrated performance.
After a tempo counterattack, Gensheimer took a reassuring 6-2 lead (9th) against the particularly physically inferior third of the Asian Championship. With some time penalties the DHB-team got out of concept for a short time, but after the 8:6 (15.) the hosts picked up the pace again.
Wolff and Gensheimer strong
From the middle of the first half Wolff was finally at operating temperature, the defense fought for balls again and again and in the attack the first game against the circle runners worked brilliantly. With his fourth goal backspace player Steffen Fäth scored to 15:8 (27.). "Even if we are superior, we must remain concentrated," demanded Gensheimer in a time-out. His teammates obeyed.
Even after the change the success never came into danger. Prokop could test different variants and different personnel in view of the clear guidance in defense and attack.
"We were superior in all areas of the game, whether attack, defensive or goalkeeper game. We can build on that," said Finn Lemke.
Reichmann caused some trouble
The victory at least gives the DHB team a bit more peace and quiet. German player Reichmann had said goodbye to a spontaneous short break to Orlando and caused some trouble. The 2016 European Champion wrote on Instagram: "I'll be gone then. Why, I don't know exactly...Ahhh, but...spontaneous vacation."
The right-winger of the Bundesliga club MT Melsungen posted a picture of himself with the hashtag "sorrynotsorry". Another Selfie before his departure commented Reichmann with the message "Tschausen ihr Banausen" which hardly can be translated into English lol. At the DHB there was a lot of excitement. Behind the scenes there was a heated discussion about how to deal with the obvious affront, but at first there were no consequences.
"We concentrate exclusively on the players who are there. They have our fullest confidence," said DHB Vice President Bob Hanning. The players also tried to push the issue away.
"We're here and we're interested in what's here. I'm assuming that if we need Tobi to come to the worst case, he'll be here with us," Gensheimer said: "It's not another issue for us either.