NEWS FEATURE: After a dramatic, but unlucky end to the club season, Germany’s Handball Player of the Year hopes for a successful finish with the national team
Gensheimer "sick and tired" of calculating
Not very long ago Uwe Gensheimer had to endure some of toughest and most tearful weeks in his career, but with the World Championship 2015 Play-offs looming the Rhein-Neckar Löwen left wing and German international wants to end this dramatic season on a high note.
At the end of April one goal was missing for the Löwen to make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne from the quarter-finals against FC Barcelona.
Three weeks later two goals were missing in the Bundesliga to become German champions for the first time, as Kiel snatched the title in the very last minutes of the season, being equal in points, but having scored two more goals overall compared to the Löwen.
Only two days after this drama, Gensheimer – and his teammates Patrick Groetzki and Oliver Roggisch – arrived at the national team. For Germany two crucial play-off matches against Poland are ahead on 7 and 14 June.
After missing the 2012 Olympic Games and the EHF EURO 2014, the German side is under pressure. Missing another event would mean some severe damage and a setback in terms of a possible qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games.
"I hope for a clear win in our first match against Poland. After all what happened to me this season I am sick and tired of calculating.
"But even a clear victory sometimes is not enough, as we had to realise when we beat Barcelona 38:31 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals (they lost the re-match 24:31 and bowed out on away goals, ed.).”
You can never be sure in top handball until the very final whistle is blown," Gensheimer says.
His individual mental situation is getting better day by day: "I think I’m out of the woods now. I really enjoyed seeing different faces and having a new goal. Right after missing the German title I was close to say: No more handball for weeks or month."
One year ago, when Germany let the ticket for the EHF EURO 2014 slip from their hands with an away defeat at Montenegro, Gensheimer was injured and followed the match via the EHF live ticker from a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand.
"What is worse than seeing your dream going down at three o’clock in the night, lying on a hotel bed," he says.
"It is great for me that this time in our crucial matches I'm on the court and that I can have an influence on the matches."
Much of the German hope rests on the shoulders of Gensheimer and Groetzki, mainly because of their ability for counter attack goals.
"We need to crack the Poles with easy goals. If we always have to get through their massive defence, we will have problems," says Gensheimer.
Despite the huge obstacle that Poland pose, the German handball player of the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 and Löwen team captain is not wasting any thoughts on a potential failure.
"The matches will be on eye level, but a major tournament should not take place without a German team. We want to be in Qatar, mainly as we missed Denmark. I want to go there – and in this case I’m egoistic, not thinking about the German public or the German handball, I do my job for me and my team."
The first leg in Gdansk on 7 June will be sold out, and Gensheimer expects a very special atmosphere like the one he witnessed in VELUX EHF Champions League matches in Veszprem, Kielce and Barcelona already.
"We know how to deal with a frenetic audience. I really like those situations, when several thousand being against us 16, the more they whistle, the more it motivates me!"
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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