For two weeks, Germany hovered on a cloud of handball euphoria, even Chancellor and President outed themselves as fans. But in the semifinals is the last stop. The reasons are pretty profane.

Uwe Gensheimer just sits there. The captain of the German national handball team has tilted his head down, sweat dripping from his soaking wet hair on the blue hall floor. A few seconds ago, the final siren sounded, Germany failed in the World Cup semi-final, In the other half of the field, the Norwegians celebrate, dance in circles and sing. Gensheimer does not seem to endure the sight. Coach and teammates pat him on the shoulder, but he does not react, needs this moment for himself. Slowly he gets up, places himself in the obligatory row of teams and continues staring apathetically. “We’re shitty,” he later says quite honestly into the ARD microphone. At any rate, it was not up to him that Germany’s dream of gold burst at the home World Cup. And certainly not in the audience, which also celebrates after the clear 25:31 (12:14) bust, sings and claps.

Review: Even before the throw in the Hamburger Arena can hardly understand his own word. The 12,500 spectators want the good 19,000 in Cologne in terms of volume in no way inferior. And since Uwe Gensheimer, Fabian Wiede and Hendrik Pekeler meet the three first German throwers, hardly anyone is sitting in the early stages of the game. Germany gets the better start, leads 3-1 – also because keeper Andreas Wolff from the beginning shows strong reflexes. But Norway answers as one would have expected: With fast pace counterattacks and much vehemence from the backcourt – after eight minutes, it is suddenly 3: 4. This is also supported by the renewed completion weakness, which is spreading after the good start in the German team.

Gensheimer takes responsibility

In this situation, the top star takes responsibility: Uwe Gensheimer scores from the seven-meter point and from the outside, shows up against the Croatia game improved and brings Germany again with 6: 5 in the lead (15th minute). The left winger is the top earner in the German team with an estimated 500,000 euros annual salary in the handball division of Paris Saint-Germain and something like the soul of this team. Although he is usually on the edge, but is still present and impeller of his teammates. Despite hocks, which are by his own admission “in the ass”, the 32-year-old sails against Norway irresistibly through the air. But even he succeeds with his interim excursions to the circle barely to stabilize the German offensive. Significantly too many attempts end up in the hands of the opponent.

The audience knows that this is not a broken leg in this sport. The mood is great, until the referees prove within a few seconds with Gensheimer and Pekeler two Germans with time penalties. The reaction: a shrill whistling concert next to and angry German attacks in the field. As Norway also receive two penalties shortly thereafter, Germany can reduce the gap to two goals at halftime (12:14).

Lack of efficiency in front of goal

An der verdienten norwegischen Führung ändert sich auch nach dem Seitenwechsel zunächst nichts, da die Mannschaft von Trainer Christian Berge weiter souveräner, abgeklärter und effizienter spielt. Knapp 65 Prozent der norwegischen Angriffe sind erfolgreich, beim deutschen Team sind es nur 51 Prozent. Weder sitzen die Spielzüge, noch funktioniert das schnelle Spiel. Vor allem im Abschluss fehlt immer wieder die Präzision. Die Folge: Norwegen zieht sogar auf vier Tore Vorsprung davon (16:20, 38.). Das Team von Christian Prokop startet daraufhin angeführt von Gensheimer eine Aufholjagd, die jedoch immer wieder durch kleinliche bis zweifelhafte Schiedsrichterentscheidungen unterbrochen wird – und leider auch von eigenen Unkonzentriertheiten.

Nevertheless, good hope germinates well three minutes before the end, as Fabian Wiede shortened with a initiated by goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter pace reaction to 25:27. But Norway’s superstar Sander Sagosen responds dry from a half-left position with the 28th goal for Norway – the preliminary decision. All of a sudden, the entire tension drops, the DHB team gets hung up and takes three more hits. The dream has long since burst. “We did not find solutions in the back and then took the uncertainty into the attack”, Prokop analyzes clearly after the game as resigned. “I missed something from the back room.” His players do not even try to talk the defeat nicely afterwards, “We are disappointed that we did not reach the final, Norway was always a bit better,” says Jannik Kohlbacher, who nevertheless takes something positive. “Thanks to Handball Germany, they supported us in every game, it was fascinating, I got goose bumps every time.” The German handball players want to take this feeling with them into the small final: On Sunday there will be a bronze medal in Herning against France and a dignified final after a good two weeks of handball euphoria in Germany. 

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