Germany win game of two different halves
After five defeats in the same number of matches, Germany finally took their first victory in the EHF EURO Cup. After a brilliant first half, they were leading Spain 20:11, but the 2018 and 2020 EHF EURO champions struck back and reduced the gap to only one goal. Both sides finish on two points, and Spain rank third thanks to the better overall goal difference, as the first leg at Spain had ended with a 32:31 win for the hosts.
EHF EURO CUP
HIGHLIGHT MATCH: Germany vs Spain 32:31 (20:11)
An incredible performance of Juri Knorr in the first half saved Germany from finishing the EHF EURO Cup without any victory. Ten goals in 30 minutes – exactly half of Germany’s strikes - were the outcome of the 23-year-old left back, who was by far the best scorer of the first half. 8,204 fans in Berlin went crazy due to Knorr’s goals and the saves of Andy Wolff. The hosts started well with a 8:4 advantage and then pulled ahead from 13:10 to 20:11 at the break.
Everything changed with the start of the second half: Spain defended stronger, causing turnovers, while the hosts lost their rhythm. After 18 minutes of the second half, the gap had melted to only three goals at 27:24, then Wolff saved some crucial shots. Finally, a double strike of Lukas Mertens and Christoph Steinert three minutes before the end for the 32:28 scoreline decided the match.
KEY FACT: Since January 2019, Germany had lost all matches against Spain – and oddly enough it was a former FC Barcelona youth player now ending this series: Juri Knorr played for two seasons at Barcelona before he returned to Germany. His 13 goals were the second-highest all-time in the history of the German men’s team. The high score is still 17 goals from Christian Schoene in 2009 against Bulgaria.
I think we played a pretty good defence over 60 minutes, Andi helped us again. In the attack the ball moved much better than in the last game, so it was a step forward, but also a little bit hard for us that Spain came back in the game. We fought until the end.
Well obviously, it was like two different games in the same one. The first half was for Germany. They played well, but I think we did not show up in the first half. At halftime we said to ourselves that we have to show character, to compete. That’s what we have done in the second half. This is our DNA. That's why we've had success in the past.