Sunday, August 28, 2011

German men are European Champions

Germany men defeat the Netherlands to claim their first European title since 2003!!!

The men's GANT EuroHockey Championship final between Germany and the Netherlands was a fitting end to a great tournament: skillful, exciting, a fantastic showcase for the sport. In a sold out 10.000 seater stadium full of enthusiastic supporters of the two best European teams, tension was high from the starting whistle, and there was barely a minute on the clock when Philipp Zeller tipped in a ball across from Mo Fürste.

Shocked into action, the Dutch attacked to pull even, and a fast and even game developed. With extraordinary skills on both sides, both teams had a number of opportunities, and the Netherlands were more effective, pulling level through Roderick Weusthof who beat German goalkeeper Max Weinhold with a superb reverse stick shot. The game went into frantic end-to-end play, with no advantages on either side, and stayed even until the 32nd minute, when a penalty corner for Germany yielded a penalty stroke that Mo Fürste converted without hesitation to give Germany the 2-1 halftime lead.

In the second half, both sides tried to control play better, but Florian Fuchs managed to get Germany ahead again with a great finishing touch to a ball from Thilo Stralkowski for the 3-1. The Netherlands were trying hard to make up some ground, but the German defense stood firm, and there was no passing their ranks, until the Dutch succeeded in winning a penalty corner, which the ever reliable Taeke Taekema converted with another cracking flick. At 2-3 only one goal behind again, the Dutch stepped their game up and attacked relentlessly, but could not beat the wall of the German defense. The Germans were still able to also create danger on fast breaks, and in the 68th minute, Oli Korn deflected a pass across into the goal for the 4-2 lead, and effectively, the victory for Germany. With the final whistle, the new European Champions were crowned: Germany men won their first European title since 2003.

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