The match was tougher than expected, but Germany won their last group C preliminary round match at the EHF EURO. By beating Latvia 28:27, they clinched their main round berth, while Latvia finished their first ever EHF EURO tournament without any points.
- best scorer was German Julius Kühn with eight goals from nine attempts
- Latvian giant Dainis Kristopans netted in seven times
- Germany book their main round ticket with four points
- it was by far Germany’s closest victory against Latvia after +10 and +18 some years ago
- German Paul Drux was awarded Grundfos player of the match
Latvia vs Germany 27:28 (10:16)
Two days after the disappointing 26:33 defeat against Spain, Germany were again not in their best form, but managed to hold on to beat EHF EURO debutants Latvia.
The Baltic side surprised the favourites early on with three straight goals for an intermediate 6:5 lead – their last advance in the match. But then the 2004 and 2016 EHF EURO champions took full control, forging ahead.
The Germans managed to keep Latvia’s right back Kristopans to a low score, and thanks to goalkeeper Johannes Bitter’s saves they extended their gap goal by goal.
Their best weapon in attack was left back Julius Kühn, who was unstoppable and scored eight goals, missing only one shot. Kühn’s eighth goal, taking Germany to a 23:16 lead in the 41st minute, seemed to have decided the match.
However, the Germans then took their feet off the gas and allowed Latvia back into the match. With two German players suspended, first Nils Kreicbergs and Kristopans grabbed their chances, pulling the gap back to 25:27.
Suddenly the neutral fans in the arena started shouting for Latvia. In the last minute Aivis Jurdzs scored for 27:28, followed by a final German timeout.
For the unlucky Latvians, the clock ran out and Germany sealed the win they needed to make it through to the main round.
Latvia line player Ingars Dude said afterwards: "We really wanted to give our best impression for our last match in the competition. I’m glad we did. We didn’t stop playing even though Germany were six goals ahead and we finished the game really well. I’m happy we showed our best handball today."
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 13, 2020