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Häfner’s strikes secure Germany’s opening victory

EHF / Björn Pazen

The EHF EURO 2016 champions Kai Häfner and Julius Kühn and EHF EURO newbie Marcel Schiller steered the rejuvenated German team to their opening victory at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in group D against Belarus on Friday in Bratislava.

The trio combined for 22 of the 33 German goals in a mostly close match, which their side turned around in the second half to win 33:29. Despite an impressive performance from their EHF Champions League stars Mikita Vailupau, Artsem Karalek and Uladzislau Kulesh, who scored a total of 20 goals, Belarus were defeated for the seventh straight time in eight matches.

Germany vs Belarus 33:29 (17:18)

  • the German defence were below par in the first 11 minutes, as Belarus easily pulled ahead to a 7:2 advance, before a goalkeeper change to Andreas Wolff changed the match and Germany took their first lead at 11:10
  • the first half was imprinted by tough defence sides, underlined by a total of seven penalty shots and six suspensions
  • Belarus counted on the trio of Vailupau (six goals), Karalek (five) and Kulesh (three), who together scored 15 of their 18 goals before the break, while on the German side, Häfner (five) was already on fire
  • right after the break, Germany scored a 6:1 run for their first four-goal lead at 25:21 and could have sealed the deal later, but failed several times against Belarusian goalkeeper Viachaslau Saldatsenka
  • finally, Schiller’s seventh goal for a lead of 31:26 decided the match, in which Häfner and Schiller finished as joint top scorers with eight goals each – and Häfner received the Grundfos Player of the Match award

Great battle of the Kielce stars

It is always something special to face a club teammate with the national team – and on Friday, a duel of Lomza Vive Kielce stars imprinted the opener in group D. On the German side the goalkeeper Andreas Wolff replaced youngster Till Klimpke in minute 11, and then backed his team with some important saves.

For Belarus, his club mates were unstoppable: line player Artsem Karalek either scored or received a penalty shot with every action in attack, while Uladzislau Kulesh scored with his long-distance hammer shots. To watch this match on TV was definitely a delight for Kielce’s coach Talant Dujshebaev.

I knew that goalkeeper Andreas Wolff is strong, when he comes from the bench, and he proved this today. Unfortunately, he was not supported by our defence all over the match, but in the final 15 minutes this cooperation worked well.
Alfred Gislason
Coach, Germany
It was not the best match of both teams. Our first half was good, but in only five to seven minutes after the break, Germany broke the game and pulled ahead. When we were three, four goals below, we could not catch the rhythm, as in the last 20 minutes we ran and we did not think what do to and lost the balls too often.
Artsem Karalek
Line player, Belarus

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