Germany's head coach Heuberger nominates 17 players for final world championship preparations
Young guns in, while Michael Kraus misses out
Martin Heuberger, head coach of the men's national team, surprised by a nominating a completely rejuvenated squad when he announced his 17 players for the 2013 World Championship in Spain.
Holger Glandorf and Lars Kaufmann (both SG Flensburg-Handewitt) had announced mid-December that they will not play in Spain. At the end of November Uwe Gensheimer was forced to miss out on the final tournament following an Achilles' tendon injury – and now Heuberger did not nominate 2007 world champion Michael Kraus (HSV Hamburg).
"I know what he is capable of but I trust the well-rehearsed duo of Martin Strobel and Michael Haaß,” Heuberger is quoted on the website of the German Handball Federation, DHB.
“In summer 2011 I started this job to begin a complete transition with the national team, and what I have started then, I am continuing now.
"As some top players withdrew from the world championship or are injuured, this process of transition has become faster than expected.”
On 27 December Heuberger and his team will start the final preparations for the world championship – two days after the Bundesliga has finished its extensive programme with 27 matches in just 10 days.
Some new and even brand new faces will join the team – as only three 2007 world champions (Oliver Roggisch, Michael Haaß and Domink Klein) are among the 17 nominated players.
On the other side, six players never played a major tournament in the senior national team before: Tobias Reichmann, Kevin Schmidt, Stefan Kneer, Martin Ziemer, Steffen Weinhold and Steffen Fäth.
In average every German player has 61 international matches on his tally, five players have less than ten caps, including Schmidt, who does not even have one international match.
“I know the strengths of those young guns, as they have been in my successful junior teams,” Heuberger explained.
The most experienced player is Roggisch with 180 caps.
Before their start in Spain in Preliminary Round Group A (against France, Montenegro, Tunisia, Brazil and Argentina) Germany have test matches against Sweden (2 and 5 January) and Romania (9 January).
The German squad for the final preparations for the 2013 World Championship:
Goalkeeper: Martin Ziemer (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf, 10 matches/0 goals), Silvio Heinevetter (Füchse Berlin, 81 / 0), Carsten Lichtlein (TBV Lemgo, 155 / 1)
Middle back: Michael Haaß (Frisch Auf Göppingen, 95 / 145), Martin Strobel (TBV Lemgo, 66 / 80)
Left back: Sven-Sören Christophersen (Füchse Berlin, 80 / 135), Stefan Kneer (SC Magdeburg, 25 / 39), Steffen Fäth (HSG Wetzlar, 2 / 2)
Right back: Steffen Weinhold (SG Flensburg-Handewitt, 31 / 53), Adrian Pfahl (VfL Gummersbach, 42 / 118)
Left wing: Dominik Klein (THW Kiel, 153 / 289), Kevin Schmidt (HSG Wetzlar, - / -)
Right wing: Patrick Groetzki (Rhein-Neckar Löwen, 38 / 80), Tobias Reichmann (HSG Wetzlar, 6 / 20)
Line player: Oliver Roggisch (Rhein-Neckar Löwen, 180 / 35), Patrick Wiencek (THW Kiel, 27 / 41), Christoph Theuerkauf (HBW Balingen-Weilstetten, 41 / 85)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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