Hockey Pro League: Double delight for Belgium as Germany thrashes Spain

Reigning world champion Belgium beat Australia twice in two days while Germany handed Spain a 5-1 thrashing in the second leg of their FIH Men's Pro League tie.

Belgium men's hockey team reclaimed its number one world ranking with back-to-back victories against Australia in the FIH Pro League.   -  FIH Twitter

Germany climbed up to the top of the Hockey Men's Pro League after the first round of matches against Spain while Belgium won the first leg against Australia in shootout and won the second leg 4-2 to even the score for its defeat in the final of the previous edition.

Germany climbed to atop of the current standings due to superior goal difference after tied on 5 points with India and Belgium.

- Die Honamas begin with a flourish -

Germany, which finished sixth in the inaugural edition of the Pro League, made a positive start in the Olympic year with two crucial aways wins against Spain in Valencia. In the first leg, Christopher Ruhr scored two field goals - the opener in the 3rd minute and a crucial equaliser in the 57th minute - to force a shoot out. Alvaro Iglesias and Josep Romeu's attempts were saved by goalkeeper Victor Aly as Germany won the shootout 4-3 to earn a bonus point.

 

Ruhr, once again opened the scoring in the second leg in the 13th minute while Timur Oruz puts the visitor 2-0 up in the 27th minute. Marc Miralles pulled one back for Spain at the end of the second quarter but three goals in the final four minutes from Marco Miltkau (56'), Lukas Windfeder (59') and Constantin Staib (60') sealed a 5-1 win for Germany.

-Belgium gets one back at Australia-

Belgium lost its world number ranking when it lost the final of last year's inaugural Pro League 3-2 to Australia. The Red Lions looked hungry to reclaim the top ranking at the Olympic Park in Sydney as skipper Thomas Briels put them ahead in the 18th minute with a brilliant deflection. After the second and third quarters went goalless, Australia pulled level through Jeremy Hayward's dragflick in the 49th minute. Two minutes later, Tom Craig slotted in a penalty stroke to put the host ahead. Belgium forced a shootout when Felix Denayer's scored a field goal in the 59th-minute.

In the shootout, Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch produced stunning saves to keep out Tim Brand and Tom Craig as the visitor won 4-2 to earn a bonus point.

 

Alexander Hendrickx starred in the second leg as his two penalty-corner strikes put Belgium 2-0 ahead at the end of the second quarter. Lachlan Sharp reduced the parity with a field goal in the 42nd minute, but further strikes from Maxime Plennevaux (56') and Emmanuel Stockbroekx (58') took the game away the Kookaburras. Jeremy Hayward scored a consolation goal for the host in the final minute as Belgium won the second leg 4-2.

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