Thanks to an impressive power stroke and NHL top star Leon Draisaitl Germany's national ice hockey team has made the premature entry into the World Cup quarter-final as good as perfect.
With the fourth victory in the fourth game in the 3: 2 (0: 0, 1: 2, 2: 0) against hosts Slovakia is the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) also the direct qualification for the Olympics 2022 hardly more to take. Exception striker Draisaitl scored the winning goal 28 seconds before the end. “It feels great to be part of this team,” the attacker enthused.
The team of national coach Toni Söderholm retained even after the three opening victories, without the injured star goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer and after a backlog in the heated atmosphere of Kosice the nerves. Marc Michaelis (24th minute) had brought the Germans into the lead and Markus Eisenschmid (59.) was still in the lead after a 1: 2 in the closing stages. “It's nice to have four wins in the first four games, but the tournament is not over yet,” said defender Yannic Seidenberg.
The success was, however, paid dearly with the injury of the best German World Cup defender Moritz Seider after a gang check. “That would be a bitter failure now. Moritz played really well so far, »said NHL defender Korbinian Holzer.
Andrej Sekera (29) and Libor Hudacek (30) were successful for Slovakia. Germany is thus still leading the group of preliminary round A. Four victories in the first four games had last been 89 years ago at the first World Cup ever. The tournament format was 1930, however, was a completely different. Last theoretical doubts about entering the knockout rounds may eliminate the DEB selection in the three remaining preliminary round games against Canada (Saturday), the USA (Sunday) and Finland (Tuesday / all Sport1 and DAZN). Most likely, however, already satisfies the previous point yield.
NHL goalkeeper Grubauer may play again in the next matches against the top nations in Kosice. The Stanley Cup winner had suffered a muscle injury during the 4-1 on Tuesday against France and had to pass against Slovakia. In the most important preliminary round match Mathias Niederberger from the Düsseldorfer EG was again used
The 26-year-old was from the beginning exposed to the pressure of the Slovaks. However, the German defense was good and left just before the gate hardly anything. For the first time ever in this tournament the Slovaks did not score in the first third.
“We knew from the start that the Slovaks are the opponents we have to beat to reach the quarter-finals,” said striker Matthias Plachta before the match. Captain Moritz Müller had also warned his teammates: “I expect it to be loud from the start. We just have to keep our emotions under control. “In fact, the atmosphere in the crowded and noisy Steel Arena recalled the decisive 2016 Olympic qualifier in Riga against Latvia. At that time the later Stanley Cup winner Tom Kühnhackl Germany had shot to 3-2 victory.
Such a nervous tension remains the DEB this time probably spared, as it remained calm in Kosice even after the second third, in which the Slovaks turned the lead by US college player Michaelis in excess, thus turning the arena into a cauldron. In the final section, Draisaitl and Eisenschmid struck back once again, putting pressure on them to make more wins against the top nations.
“Let's do it today. After that, the momentum can become quite different again. The teams will not be any easier to come after that, “Müller had called before the game. His teammates followed with a show of strength in the last third.