The German national ice hockey team stormed into the World Cup quarter-finals with five wins in seven games. Today the DEB selection around national coach Toni Söderholm is facing the duel against the Czech Republic for a place in the semi-finals. The game from 3.20 p.m. in the live ticker.
Germany – Czech Republic
05/26/2022 | 3:20 p.m
The starting position: The German team had the best preliminary round of the World Cup in their history. Five wins in seven games brought them second place in the group. Even the final penalty defeat against the strong Swiss took Söderholm’s team as an encouragement. “If we keep doing our work, we’ll have a chance against every opponent,” assured defender Korbinian Holzer. Attacker Marcel Noebels warned: “On Thursday nobody will ask how we played in the preliminary round. The only thing that counts is win or lose.” In the event of a defeat, the World Cup is over for the German team. If you win in Tampere, you have twice the chance of a medal.
The statistics: Since the introduction of the quarter-finals at World Cup tournaments in 1992, the DEB selection has been in the top eight twelve times. It only went on twice after that. Last year, the Germans made it to the semi-finals in Riga against Switzerland in a crime thriller. “We’re fine with taking one step after the other,” said Captain Müller about hasty medal dreams. Against the Czechs there were only four wins in three draws and 24 defeats in 31 World Cup games. The last time they won was in 2007.
The opponent: The Czechs played a mixed preliminary round. The team lost three times, including an embarrassing defeat by outsiders Austria. After the early Olympic exit, the Czechs are in a state of upheaval. “At this World Cup they are playing with different tactics than in the past, they work well together as a team and, as usual, are characterized by technically good players,” said national coach Söderholm.
The coaching duel: For Söderholm, the game will be a reunion with his former coach Kari Jalonen. As a player, the 44-year-old once won the Finnish championship under Jalonen in Helsinki. Now the two Finns face each other in the same hall as opponents. Jalonen has been training the Czech squad since March and is expected to make a fresh start. “I have huge respect for Kari,” said Söderholm, who learned a lot from his compatriot. The national coach also emphasized: “We don’t want it to be about us. It’s about the game.”