Koster shines against Qatar
Germany’s great hope overcomes fears
By Felix Menninghouse, Katowice
1/14/2023 4:24 AM
The 22-year-old from VfL Gummersbach is amazed by the brave and calm performances of the national handball team. The opening World Cup win against Qatar leaves you wanting more – also because the injury to mighty keeper Wolff is probably not that serious.
The twelfth minute of the match against Qatar will forever have a very special meaning in handball player Julien Koster’s private diary: the backcourt player from VfL Gummersbach was passed with the ball, ran into the opponent’s cover, lifted it and slammed the ball over. The outstretched arms of his opponents are at a right angle. This was the first goal for the still young player in his career for his country.
A small moment in the glorious history of the selection of the German Handball Federation (DHB), but certainly a big moment in the life of the 22-year-old, who was born in Bielefeld in East-Westphalia: Koster scored his first goal in a world championship in his young career, and one need not be a prophet to predict that this sense of accomplishment will be followed by many more.
However, at that moment, it didn’t matter at all, when the ball slammed into the net, he just thought of “getting back to cover as quickly as possible to regroup,” the two-meter athlete reported afterwards. Mixed zone end game.
As the opener ended and the intense confrontation trials slowly settled in, Köster began to set the record straight. “It was a really great moment,” he said, and a smile spread across his sweaty face, indicating that this day will always be special.
Wolf holds the victory
Of course, this was primarily due to the fact that the German team’s performance was improved by a well-deserved victory 31:27 (18:13). It was a bit spectacular, but overall a well deserved victory against an opponent who suffered a painful defeat in the Round of 16 at the 2017 World Cup in France. Six years later, the Qataris have behaved largely conservatively, even if they managed to put the weak Germans under temporary pressure in the second half.
The reason the game didn’t come close was mainly down to once again outstanding goalkeeper Andreas Wolf, who kept the German team in the game with 19 saves in 60 minutes. Plus, the pro based out of Kielce, Poland, shone with his long throws, which he placed neatly on the fast-paced counter-attack runner. Handball players call these passes “lies”. Wolfe plays them with such incredible precision that only quarterback legend Tom Brady can do in American football.
If DHB wants to go far in the World Cup, it depends entirely on the current festival form of its goalkeeper. In this regard, it was an alarming signal when Wolfe grabbed his calf in the last minute of the match and signaled his desire to take him off the field.
The obese athlete walked into the dressing room, and handball Germany began to worry that it would have to do without its most important champions from now on. Captain Johannes Jolla stated that he did not want to waste an idea on this scenario, “because it is very important to us”. Right winger Patrick Grotzky added that he still relied heavily on a world-class man between the posts because he was “tough enough”: “I’m not worried about that.” In fact, DHB’s media department gave it its all for the evening: Wolf will be Germany’s goal-keeper as usual in Sunday’s Group B match against Serbia (6pm).
The coach is also happy
If the old wisdom about handball is in fact true, that a good goalkeeper’s performance is always favored by an effective defense, then captain Gola and Julian Koster can confidently strap on the back. The duo form a stable middle block in their own circuit, which allowed little except for a weak stage in the middle of the second half. Jola enthusiastically complimented his neighbor, saying Koster was “very consistent despite his young age. If we want to achieve something here, we definitely need him to stay in shape.”
National coach Alfred Gislason can’t help but agree, praising one of his favorite students on Alfalfa: “Julian is a very talented defensive player with a great future,” says the 63-year-old. The Icelander himself considered Koster’s game a misstep in the second half. He realized too late that Köster was getting tired and making technical errors.
In the end, this was nothing more than a side note, as the German team battled through the depression and held on for the all-important opening win. In the end, Gislason was asked if he was superstitious and had doubts about winning because his team’s World Cup premiere took place on Friday the 13th. The coach smiled and had a kind answer ready: “On the contrary, because today is my mother’s birthday.”