Without thriller in the World Cup semi-finals: DHB juniors are now finally in world champion form


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Into the World Cup semi-finals without a thriller
DHB juniors are now finally in world champion form

The German U21 national handball team had to tremble twice after a clear lead, but not this time: In the World Cup quarter-finals, the DHB team defeated Denmark, the third major handball nation in a row.

The dream is alive: The German U21 handball players impressively underlined their title ambitions at the home World Cup and stormed into the semi-finals. Coach Martin Heuberger’s team won the quarter-finals in Berlin convincingly with 31:26 (17:11) against Denmark and will fight against Serbia on Saturday in the capital for a place in the final. The Serbs had previously ended the journey of the World Cup newcomer from the Faroe Islands 30:27 (17:12).

Backcourt player Nils Lichtlein with seven goals and the outstanding keeper David Späth were the guarantors of victory for the selection of the DHB in the Max-Schmeling-Halle. After 2009 (in Egypt) and 2011 (in Greece) it would be the third World Cup triumph for young Germans.

Against Denmark, the DHB team achieved their third win in a row against a major handball nation: Against defending champions France (31:30) and against Croatia (31:29), the hosts had to tremble for success despite clear leads in the end , also because the defense was not always solid. This time it got a little tighter after a clear break lead in a short phase from the middle of the second half, but it never got really tight – also because the DHB offspring provided strong coverage against the Scandinavians, especially in the first half.

“We’ll win the title, I’m convinced of that,” said expert Bob Hanning before the quarterfinals – and the German team came into play perfectly against the offspring of world champion and Olympic silver medalist Denmark. After a quick 3-0 lead, the German team, driven by captain Renars Uscins (Hannover) and Lichtlein (Füchse Berlin), held a continuous lead. The Danes couldn’t find a solution against Heuberger’s team’s variable attacking game.

In front of the eyes of national coach Alfred Gislason, Späth, who had led the Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the cup final into extra time and later to the title with a saved seven meter seconds before the end, increasingly focused on himself with strong saves at half-time stood a six-goal lead. After the change of sides, the DHB selection cleverly managed the lead, with both teams now lacking the last penetrating power. Späth held the lead several times.

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