An impressive display from right wing Timo Kastening helped Germany ease past Belarus as the two-time EHF EURO winners began the main round with a comfortable win.
The TSV Hannover-Burgdorf right wing produced a player of the match performance with six goals from six shots as Germany punished a lacklustre Belarus.
All 14 German outfield players found the target to give Christian Prokop’s side an important two points ahead of their match against Croatia on Saturday.
- Germany's Timo Kastening wins player of the match award
- the German right wing scored with all six shots
- every German player, except their two goalkeepers, scored
- German keeper Andi Wolff saved 12 of 34 shot faced (35 per cent ratio)
- Uladzislau Kulesh top-scored for Belarus with six goals
Belarus vs Germany 23:31 (11:18)
Germany, supported by a strong following who had made the trip over the border to Vienna, were in command from the first whistle, taking advantage of sloppy play in possession from Belarus.
Christian Prokop’s side were already four goals ahead inside 10 minutes with four of the Germans’ six goals coming from fast breaks.
And as the two-time champions eased to a seven-goal lead by half-time, it was the goals from wingers Uwe Gensheimer and Timo Kastening that punished the Belarusians. Between them the duo were responsible for seven of the Germans’ 18 goals in the opening half.
Belarus had won two games to qualify for the main round and goals from top goal-scorer Mikita Vailupau kept them – just – in Germany’s sights.
But no team who progressed from the preliminary round had conceded more goals than Belarus and Germany, who had the luxury of resting captain Gensheimer on the bench for the entire second half, continued to press forward.
Player of the match Kastening kept up his impressive personal display with two further goals to take his tally to six goals from six shots.
And even though the second half was tighter than the first, the Germans were never in any trouble and cruised home to win by eight goals – with every outfield player on target.
Germany will now aim to beat Croatia on Saturday in what could be a pivotal match in deciding who makes it through to the semi-finals in Stockholm.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 16, 2020
Prokop said Germany went into the match with respect for Belarus's quick handball.
"We played with a much more aggressive and movable defence compared to the matches before, and in attack we played with discipline and speed," Prokop said. "I am really satisfied with our performance and I really had fun today. Everything we had planned worked well for 60 minutes in defence and attack.”