This is one of the unknown strokes of luck of the French team in this Euro: not having had to face Germany at the start of the preliminary round or the main round. For some years now, the Nationalmannschaft has systematically won its first match, in each group stage of a major competition. Bis repeated this year, against Poland (25-23) then the Netherlands (36-28).
This statistical curiosity did not, however, lead the Germans very far. Their last semi-final, they played it in this same Boris-Trajkovski arena during the Macedonian Euro of 2008, finished in fourth place. An eternity for this leading handball nation.
This Tuesday evening, however, the opposition promises to be solid for the euphoric Bleues. Germany posed them big problems in a friendly six weeks ago in Metz and Nancy (victories 34-31 and 30-29). After going through hardships, she is still in the race for the last four.
They overcame the scandal
This fall, all of German women’s handball was shaken by the moral harassment scandal linked to André Fuhr, the former coach of the big club Dortmund. Several players including internationals Amelie Berger (absent from the Euro due to injury) and Mia Zschocke testified in the reference magazine Der Spiegel of the “psychological terror” that they would have experienced because of this technician.
Xenia Smits ball in hand against the Netherlands (36-28). (B.Paquot/The Team)
“It was difficult, but the team overcame that well, observes coach Markus Gaugisch, appointed just seven months ago. We left space for discussions and we thought that we now wanted to have positive headlines about us in the press. I was impressed to see how the players were able to stay focused so that, in training, we were only focused on the Euros. It was strong. »
They overcame their irregularity
Before the Euro, the French coach, Olivier Krumbholz, imagined Germany capable of creating a surprise. There is size and talent, like the center-half Alina Grijseels, the tournament’s top scorer (7.3 goals on average), or the powerful left-back Emily Bölk. But, a bit like in the box of chocolates of Forrest Gumpyou never know which version you’re going to get. “It’s a secret… I don’t know where we really stand either”admits Gaugisch.
After dominating Poland (25-23), the Germans gave in to Montenegro (25-29) and especially to a suffering Spain (21-23). But they reacted admirably against the Netherlands. “We managed to leave Podgorica (where they played the preliminary round) what happened in Podgorica », launches the former Messina Xenia Smits. Aux Bleues to play to bring out the German face on bad days.