09/01/2020

Wolff stands in the way of a Dutch sensation

GROUP C REVIEW: EHF EURO 2016 champions Germany had a shaky start but finally secured a clear win against debutants Netherlands, despite a red card for Uwe Gensheimer

Andreas Wolff shone as Germany beat the Netherlands in their Group C opener in Trondheim. Photo © Axel Heimken / kolektiff

In their first ever EHF EURO match, Netherlands showed a brave fight and were closely below the double EHF EURO champions for almost 45 minutes, but in the end, Germany managed to take a double-figured win in their opener at Trondheim.

  • German goalkeeper Andreas Wolff saved 12 shots in 50 minutes
  • Kay Häfner and Jannik Kohlbacher were Germany's top scorers with six goals each
  • German team captain Uwe Gensheimer received a red card after only 16 minutes
  • Toon Lenders scored two goals in his 100th match for the Netherlands
  • Kay Smits was on fire, scoring six of his seven goals before the break

GROUP C
Germany vs Netherlands 34:23 (15:13)

Watched by 4,057 fans, Germany were fully dominant in the first 15 minutes,stretching to a 10:4 lead thanks to their powerful back court shooters and their strong line players. But a penalty shot changed everything: German team captain Uwe Gensheimer hit Dutch goalkeeper Bert Ravensbergen in the face and received a direct red card in the 16th minute when the score was 10:5.

From one moment to the next, Germany lost their pace and confidence, while the Dutch side improved in all positions. Right back Kay Smits was a major reason for the improvement, scoring six goals in the second quarter of the match and another in the second half.

The Netherlands were even close to turning the match around at 11:12 in minute 24. In the end, German goalkeeper Andreas Wolff stood in the way of the Dutch equaliser in this period.

Despite the 15:13 half-time advantage, Germany still lacked inspiration and ideas in attack and the match was anything but fluid. The Netherlands were still on a high and close behind their rivals thanks to a strong performance by playmaker Luc Steins, who scored six goals and was awarded player of the match.

But then Wolff, the EHF EURO 2016 hero, had seen enough. The goalkeeper shut up shop – and his 12 saves in total paved the way to a more comfortable German advance in the middle of the second half. A seven-goal unanswered run from Germany, taking them to 29:19, effectively ended the Netherlands' hopes of a win.

Germany's coach Christian Prokop said he was satisfied with the result.

"The Netherlands are a fast and tricky team to play," he added. "Our defence was good from the start until the end, and our goalkeeper Andreas Wolff showed a superb performance."

Dutch goalkeeper Gerrie Eijlers said simply: "We had respect for Germany, but for more than 45 minutes we played really well. But the match was too long for us."

written by Björn Pazen / jh