Make the most of every minute
They only have 240 test minutes on the court before their EHF EURO 2012 campaign in Serbia gets under way, so the motto of German head coach Heine Jensen is “to make the most of every minute.”
The Germans, who face Hungary, Croatia and Spain in their preliminary round matches in Novi Sad at the EHF EURO in Serbia, start their test mission against another EURO participant: Czech Republic.
On 4 October (in the Czech city of Most) and 7 October (in Leipzig, Germany) both teams go head-to-head in test matches.
And the second encounter is a very special one for the Germans, as it is not only a test match, but the farewell game for German record international Grit Jurack, who had to end her career after a shoulder injury. “For me it is both – to say farewell to one of the most impressive characters of German women’s handball and to check the performing level of the team regarding the EHF EURO,” Jensen said.
The Dane, who is in charge of the German women’s team since spring 2011, has to replace several experienced players like team captain Isabell Klein (Buxtehude) and playmaker Anna Loerper (Holstebro) due to injuries.
But in contrast to other EHF EURO participants he will not carry out any experiments: “We had a summer camp in July with 20 players – and those are the general roster for Serbia. 16 of those 20 will make up our squad.”
The most experienced player is right back Stefanie Melbeck (233 caps for Germany). Some other experienced players like goalkeeper Sabine Englert, Nadine Krause and right wing Sabine Richter had quit playing for the national team after missing out on qualification for the Olympic Games, so Jensen’s job is to rejuvenate the squad.
In 2010 – before Jensen started – Germany missed out on the Main Round of the EHF EURO for the first time in their history and finished 13th, in 2011 they missed out on the Last 16 of the IHF World Championship and finished 17th in Brazil.
After those tests against the Czech Republic, Germany will have their final chances to prepare for Serbia in two matches against 2010 EHF EURO bronze medallist Romania on 24 and 25 November in a home court.
The squad for the matches against Czech Republic:
Goal: Clara Woltering (Buducnost Podgorica/MNE), Katja Schülke (HC Leipzig)
Left wing: Kim Birke (VfL Oldenburg), Natalie Augsburg (HC Leipzig)
Back court: Nadja Nadgornaja (Thüringer HC), Franziska Mietzner (Frankfurter HC), Laura Steinbach (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Kerstin Wohlbold (Thüringer HC), Kim Naidzinavicius (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Stefanie Melbeck (Buxtehuder SV), Angie Geschke (Vag Vipers Kristiansand/NOR)
Right wing: Friederike Lütz (Buxtehuder SV), Marlene Zapf (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Pivot: Anne Müller (HC Leipzig), Anja Althaus (Thüringer HC), Luisa Schulze (HC Leipzig)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc