Since Henk Groener took over as head coach in January 2018, the German team has been in transition mode with only one player, team captain Kim Naidzinavicius, holding more than 100 caps.
A new generation started their long-term mission at the EHF EURO 2018 in France, when one goal against Hungary in the main round prevented Germany from securing a top six finish. At the World Championship 2019 in Japan history repeated itself: one goal was missing against Serbia in order to secure a semi-final spot and a place at the Olympic qualification tournaments. In the end, the young German team finished eighth, and the Olympic dream has to wait.
With many rising stars playing at international level for top clubs in the DELO EHF Champions League, including Dinah Eckerle, Emily Bölk, Alicia Stolle and Evgenija Minevsklaja, the team hope to start the EHF EURO 2020 with more experience and consistency.
Germany have not missed a European Championship since the first EHF EURO in 1994, when they won silver – but are yet to collect more European silverware. Twice, in 2006 and 2008, Germany made it to the semi-finals, but finished fourth on both occasions. Now, the race for a medal is on again.
Recent Team News
The only way has been up for the past nine years for the German number one. At the age of 16, goalkeeper Eckerle made her debut in the Bundesliga for Thüringer HC and one year later she played her first ever EHF Champions League match. At the U20 World Championship in Croatia in 2014, Eckerle was awarded best goalkeeper. In 2018 she transferred to SG Bietigheim to become the successor to Dutch star Tess Wester - and at the age of 23 in 2019, she had already won seven German championship trophies. She now plays for Metz Handball since early in the current season. Since 2018, when experienced Clara Woltering and Katja Kramarczyk stepped back from the national team, Eckerle became the first-choice goalkeeper. As Eckerle is not the tallest goalkeeper, at just 170cm tall, her reflexes and her anticipation are outstanding.
Bölk has handball in her genes and broke almost all age records in German women’s handball: her mother Andrea was world champion in 1993 and part of the German team which won the one and only EHF EURO medal in 1994. Now, Emily is the youngest ever German player to score more than 100 goals in international matches - and just made the next step of her career, signing for the Hungarian EHF Champions League side FTC together with her German national teammates Alicia Stolle and Julia Behnke. At the age of 16, Bölk steered Germany to a silver medal at the U18 World Championship and was awarded MVP of the tournament. At the age of 18, she played her first senior EHF EURO event in Sweden 2016 after signing for Thüringer HC. At the age of 22, Bölk has her already third EHF EURO and her in total fifth major event ahead.
The Dutchman steered the Netherlands to the top, and is now aiming to do the same on the opposite side of the border. In a process of a seven-year development from 2009 to 2016, Groener (60) managed to shift the Dutch side from zero to hero, to the final of the World Championship 2015 in Denmark and the semi-final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. His most important ability is to transform talents into stars. In January 2018, just after Germany had failed in the World Championship on home ground, Groener started his mission. In his younger days, the former Dutch international had both played and coached in Germany, before he took over the Dutch men’s team. His coaching philosophy is to give the players as much self-initiative and responsibility as possible. He is also constantly looking to integrate junior players into the team. Besides working with the German team, Groener is coaching lecturer at the Johan Cruyff Coaching Institute for Sport Management in Amsterdam.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||4th place|