National player Hafner has an assortment of opportunities for the DHB team

Kai Hafner made his nationwide team debut in April 2010 in a recreation in opposition to Denmark.Image: Imago / Klaus Bergmann


Qatar, Serbia, Algeria – these are the three preliminary spherical opponents of the German nationwide handball team at the World Cup in Poland and Sweden. The DHB team will play its first recreation on Friday (6 pm, ZDF).

Before the begin, Watson spoke to nationwide player Kai Hafner (33). The backcourt player, who has been energetic at the membership for MT Melsungen since 2019, has been an everyday in nationwide coach Alfred Gislason’s team over the years.

In the interview he talks about the prospects of the nationwide team, the corona chaos in the previous 12 months and the criticism some of his colleagues have obtained from former professionals.

WATSON: Mr. Haffner, the World Cup begins for Germany on Friday with the recreation in opposition to Qatar. Is the team able to go?

Kai Hafner: Yes, I’ll signal that. The temper is sweet and the two performances in opposition to Iceland final weekend have been cheap. It was an awesome feeling in opposition to a extremely good Icelandic team. And as at all times in the previous few days earlier than the begin of a match, it’s all about fine-tuning as we now have already seen some anomalies.

For instance?

I feel the protection did an awesome job. More problematic was the lack of consistency on offense. If you lose balls too simply in ahead movement, you find yourself conceding objectives which are very low-cost at this stage. And the end result does not look so good anymore. I’m glad we received the second recreation in opposition to Iceland 33:31 – as a result of 30:31 the day earlier than was actually troubling.

The second Test for you ended with a knee damage. Is the early recreation in jeopardy?

The ache is excruciating, nevertheless it ought to all be effectively by Friday. I’m on the subject in opposition to Qatar, I really feel that means.

Kai Hafner collided with his opponent against Iceland.

Kai Hafner injured his knee in a collision with an opponent in opposition to Iceland.Image: dpa / Axel Hemken

Qatar Ki Baat: There was so much of discuss the nation in the sports activities world relating to the 2022 World Cup. But that is not an challenge for handball gamers at the second, is it?

it is simply that. This is just not the first time we now have performed in opposition to Qatar and we now have had some heated matches in opposition to them as effectively. I stay up for seeing what variety of team they’ll subject this 12 months, however the dialogue about the World Cup does not evaluate to our World Cup. Qatar has simply certified for it.

“We usually are not amongst the high favourites.”

Still: Germany is the clear favorite, is not it?

Obviously our goal must be to win this match. You repeat your self yearly in the pre-tournament interviews, however a superb rhythm is essential, so profitable the first recreation is essential. I’m hopeful that we’ll decide up the momentum after which discover a good circulation.

What do you suppose your team is succesful of?

Sorry, I’m repeating myself: You do not know. What I can say is that this: we aren’t amongst the high favorites for the title. These are the groups which were in the semi-finals or finals extra repeatedly lately: Danes, Swedes, French, Spaniards. And, for the sake of saying one thing new, I’ll throw Iceland into the combine. They are my secret favorite.

GISLASON Alfred with coach team Germany Hafner Kai Handball Lenderspil Germany - Iceland 30:31 on 07.01.2023 in Bremen *** GISLASON Alfred with coach team Germany Hafner Kai Handball co ...

Kai Hafner (together with nationwide coach Alfred Gislausson) and the DHB team misplaced to Iceland on Saturday.Image: Imago / Lacy Perini

and Germany?

On a superb day, we need not conceal from any team in the world. Lots has to come back collectively to win in opposition to the absolute high groups.

As an skilled chief, how glad are you with the composition of the squad?

I like our team. Overall the chemistry is on level and we now have many thrilling characters and a superb combine. I’m feeling good.

“Everyone who does not experience could have their very own private causes for this resolution. We must respect that.”

Prior to the begin of the match, there was some criticism from former professionals who voiced their opinion on the proven fact that a number of gamers have withdrawn from the World Cup. How do you view the dialogue?

Well everybody has their very own opinion. You can have them too. But to be sincere, I do not care.

Why not?

Because I can not discover it wherever. Everyone who does not experience could have their very own private causes for this resolution. We must respect that. And no quantity of dialogue in the world makes it higher. It has at all times been an honor for me to symbolize Germany in any match. If others can’t make their participation attainable, so be it. I like to concentrate to the males who experience. Because I need to achieve success with them.

EM 2022 was completed after the fundamental spherical after the huge corona chaos in the team. Is Corona nonetheless an challenge for you presently?

Not essential. And I hope – toi, toi, toi – that it stays that means. Sure, you continue to give it some thought, I’ll always remember my match with corona illness. We take a look at ourselves and see, however anyway we have at all times been fairly secure in our team resorts. Plus, replaying to sold-out halls is sensationally good.

Mr Hafner, one final private query: might it’s that this can be your final match for the German nationwide team?

Shit, I’m getting actually previous (laughs). I do not plan as a result of all the things can occur so rapidly in sports activities. And sure, I do know I can be 34 this 12 months. But proper now I’m not fascinated with my finish in the nationwide team. As lengthy as I can assist and I’m invited, I’m there.

there are moments when soccer gamers look silly, When a striker passes the ball free in entrance of objective or a goalkeeper throws the ball into an opponent’s foot with out urgent it, it’s usually amusing for impartial followers, however it’s a actual take a look at of loyalty for their very own supporters. Is.

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