Germany secure best finish since 2007 with win over Czechia

15 Dec. 2023

Germany secure best finish since 2007 with win over Czechia

Germany advanced to the Placement Match 5/6, securing their best finish at the IHF Women’s World Championship since France 2007, with a clear win, 32:26, against Czechia, in Friday’s first match in the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning.

Germany vs Czechia 32:26 (14:12)

A win would have ensured Czechia’s best-ever finish at the IHF Women’s World Championship, improving on the eighth place sealed at Germany 2017, after a superb performance at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, where Bent Dahl’s side has impressed with some excellent passages of play.

The trio of Marketa Jerabkova, Veronika Mala and Charlotte Cholevova was Czechia’s main attacking force, but in goalkeeper Petra Kudláčková, they had a superb shot stopper, who made all the difference in the crucial match against Spain in the main round, which basically lifted the European side to the quarter-finals.

Once again, Kudláčková was immense between the posts in this Placement Match 5/8, against Germany, a team which entered the court on a two-game losing streak, including a painful 16:26 loss against Sweden in the quarter-finals, where Germany failed to score for the first 14 minutes and seven seconds.

This time around, it was not necessarily about failing to score, but an underwhelming efficiency in attack. While Germany did score 14 times in the first 30 minutes, they also helped Kudláčková to an outstanding 46% saving efficiency, with 11 shots saved in that span, including six one-on-one saves.

Nevertheless, Germany led throughout the whole first half, as the biggest gap was four goals, 13:9, after 24 minutes, as Czechia also failed to bring the goods in attack. Jerabkova, Mala and Cholevova combined once again for 10 of Czechia’s 12 goals, with the top goal scorer of the competition, Jerabkova, leading the pack with 10 goals.

But Czechia needed more to secure their top finish ever at the IHF Women’s World Championship, yet it was clear that they needed to be better in attack and create more chances, as they shot 22 times in the first half, five less times than Germany, which was still in the driver’s seat, in spite of their issues.

In only eight minutes, Germany powered on and decided the game, as their start of the second half saw them ride a 8:3 run, which proved to be pivotal and unassailable, as right back Viola Leuchter, at only 19 years old, fired from all cylinders to support that run.

A team time-out called by Czechia’s coach, Bent Dahl, could not turn the game around, as Dahl used his second-string players more in the second half, basically accepting defeat, giving some much-needed rest to Jerabkova or Cholevova.

However, Kudláčková, who finished the match with 18 saves, continued to shine and helped Czechia stay alive in the match, as the gap was cut to only four goals, 22:18, with 19 minutes to go, giving much-needed hope to the Czech side. Yet it was too little, too late for them in their bid to cut the deficit even further and mount a strong comeback.

With only one outfield player failing to score at least one goal and Leuchter – the hummel Player of the Match - leading the pack with six goals, Germany rode their luck to a clear 32:26 win, which snapped their two-match losing streak, while handind Czechia their third loss in a row.

Germany are now sure to finish either fifth or sixth at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship, which is their best position to end the world handball flagship competition since 2007, when they won the bronze medal.

On the other hand, Czechia will open the handball marathon in the Jyske Bank Boxen on Sunday, in the Placement Match 7/8, as they will also try to secure their best-ever finish with a win in that match, ending Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023 on a high.

hummel Player of the Match: Viola Leuchter (Germany)