In the showdown against Switzerland
Germany lures to a historic World Cup coup
May 23, 2022, at 20.07
In the final preliminary round match against arch-rivals Switzerland on Tuesday, a German World Cup record and even group victory entices. After five wins from six matches, the ice hockey team is very confident. But you are not satisfied yet.
The morning after the historic milestone, the DEB team had a relaxed atmosphere on the ice. No wonder: With the longest winning streak in their World Cup history, the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) has the next coup in Helsinki in mind. Against the eternal rivals from Switzerland, who so far have won all six matches in the Finnish capital in a sometimes impressive way, it comes on Tuesday (11.20 on Sport1, MagentaSport and in the live ticker on ntv.de) to the showdown for first place – from which Germany has never started into the quarterfinals.
“We have already shown that we can beat Switzerland,” said AHL professional Leon Gawanke confidently: “Last year, everyone thought they would sweep us out of the hall. But we won the match.” The 22-year-old knows what he is talking about, after all, the defender has fond memories of the Confederates. At last year’s World Cup in Riga, DEB won the selection 3-2 after a penalty shootout against the Swiss in the quarterfinals and Gawanke only made it possible to extend the match with his goal to 2-2 just 44 seconds before the end of regular time. “It was one of the biggest goals of my career,” Gawanke said, adding, “Hopefully after the World Cup I can look at a new goal.”
This year, however, important players are missing, especially in the offensive. Leon Draisaitl is a draw in the NHL playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers. Former NHL striker Dominik Kahun was injured shortly before and NHL top talent Tim Stützle during the World Cup. For the 20-year-old Stützle, the tournament is over despite what is probably only a minor knee injury. It hits the German team hard, especially in the upcoming matches against the strong nations. “It’s bitter. He’s a very, very important player for us,” NHL defender Moritz Seider complained.
A marked increase in performance is required
Starting from the top of the table in the World Cup quarter-finals would be the next milestone for the DEB selection. But the goals before the big showdown are already higher. “We want the title. We have so much quality in the locker room,” said Seider, who is already looking forward to the “special duel” on Tuesday: “We are hot. We will do everything to get first place for the first time to secure.”
In 2011 and 1933, the DEB selection had already won the preliminary rounds in smaller groups, but then there were additional points rounds that were never completed first. National coach Toni Söderholm’s team, which on Monday missed the training “a little sick”, will probably have to win against Switzerland with three goals to win the group. The DEB team is aware that against the selection spiced with seven NHL players, a marked increase in performance is needed after the weak match against Kazakhstan. “Of course we have to analyze well now and play much, much better against Switzerland,” Gawanke said. “We need to be more consistent,” Seider stressed.
Söderholm, on the other hand, looked soberly at the starting position as usual: “We just had to concentrate on the essentials now. The table develops by itself.” Before the Olympic failure in February, he had spoken openly about his team’s chances for a medal and had not grown for the gold medal goal. The case was so much the more violent after the quarter-finals, which were ultimately missed miserably, and the criticism was so much the louder. The national coach now appears similarly reserved. The pressure should not be as overwhelming as possible. “Let’s just concentrate on our game,” Söderholm said now. And it’s working fine right now. His team also wins the less good or close matches again.