Double joy for Germany against Belgium in Düsseldorf
Lausanne, Switzerland: It was a productive day for Germany’s national teams in the FIH Hockey Pro League on Wednesday (23 September), with both the men’s and women’s sides claiming the lion’s share of the available points in the second matches of their respective double headers against neighbours Belgium in Düsseldorf.
Germany’s women made it two wins from two against the Red Panthers, with Hannah Gablac, Cecile Pieper and Rebecca Grote all hitting the target in a 3-1 victory. Ambre Ballenghien had put Belgium ahead with a superb penalty corner drag-flick in the 21st minute, before Gablac restored parity three minutes later from open play. Pieper and Grote netted penalty corners in the third and fourth quarters respectively, ensuring that the hosts claimed a second win in two days against the visitors.
Speaking after the match, Gablac – who was named Player of the Match – said: “Our coach told us to keep the energy high – we did quite well in the second half, in the first ten minutes, then we lost our way a bit. But I’m very proud of my team – good work.”
Belgium captain Barbara Nelen said: “In the first half, I think we played really well. We dared to play, had a lot of energy. But we had some opportunities that we didn’t score. In the second half I think the energy was a bit less, and we ‘dared’ less, which is why Germany came back hard – they showed us who we are.”
With two wins from their opening two matches in the current FIH Hockey Pro League season, Germany have moved up to fifth in the standings. More information about this match can be found by clicking here.
Germany’s men shook off the disappointment of Tuesday’s 6-1 loss at the hands of Belgium to produce an excellent display in match two, battling to a 1-1 draw before claiming the bonus point by winning the shoot-out.
The hosts took a deserved lead when Florian Fuchs touched home a defence-splitting pass from team captain Tobias Hauke in the 24th minute, before Belgium finally pulled level eleven minutes from the end thanks to Loick Luypaert’s deflected penalty corner drag-flick. Belgium were denied on numerous occasions by goalkeeper Alexander Stadler, who produced a string of fine saves in regular time to earn a crucial point for Germany against the reigning World and European champions.
Stadler was almost single-handedly responsible for Germany’s bonus point, making some wonderful blocks to keep a clean sheet in the shoot-out, with Christopher Rühr’s converted effort being enough for a 1-0 win in the one-on-ones.
Speaking after the match, Stadler – who was named Player of the Match – said: “Our team did very well. We had wanted to get more spirit and more effort, and for the team to defend better and we did that. We did pretty well today. The difference [from yesterday and today] was that we defended better. There was a really good spirit with the team today.”
While Belgium remain well clear at the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, two points for Germany has seen Die Honamas move off the bottom of the table to seventh position. More information about this match can be found by clicking here.
The matches were played behind closed doors, with strict COVID-19 protocols being followed by the teams, staff, officials and everyone within the venue.
The next FIH Hockey Pro League matches take place in October, with the men and women of the Netherlands and Great Britain going head-to-head in Amstelveen (NED).