Hockey World Cup 2018: Germany looks to overcome missed chances

Germany has gone through a rough phase, but it has traditionally performed well at the Hockey World Cup. Few will write the team off in the 2018 edition.

Striker Florian Fuchs will be crucial for Germany’s fortunes in the World Cup.   -  Vivek Bendre

It has been a year-and-a-half of near-misses for Germany as it lost the final of the 2017 World Hockey League Semifinals in Johannesburg to Belgium, then lost the bronze medal match to England at the 2017 European Championships in Amsterdam. Die Honamas lost yet another chance to win a medal at the 2017 World Hockey League Final in Bhubaneswar, going down 2-1 to India in the third-place playoff.

The four-time Olympic champion’s poor form continued in 2018, with three Test series losses to Ireland, Australia and Great Britain, while also not receiving an FIH invitation for the 2018 Champions Trophy in Breda, a competition it has won a record 11 times. But Germany has traditionally performed well at the World Cup, reaching 11 semifinals in 13 editions.

Head coach Stefan Kermas has picked a young squad for the competition — the team has an average age of 25 and 12 of the 18 members are playing their first World Cup. Striker Florian Fuchs will be crucial for the side’s fortunes, while the presence of veteran Tobias Hauke makes Germany formidable in the midfield. Germany’s shrewd tactics with penalty corners and Tom Grambusch’s emergence as one of world’s top drag-flickers add extra bite to the team’s attack. However, the team has a tendency to concede goals at crucial periods, and the inexperience of No. 1 goalkeeper Mark Appel is another concern.

Squad: Mark Appel, Tobias Walter, Florian Fuchs, Benedikt Furk, Mats Grambusch, Tom Grambusch, Johannes Grosse, Martin Haner, Tobias Hauke, Timm Herzbruch, Dieter Linnekogel, Marco Miltkau, Mathias Muller, Dan Nguyen Luong, Christopher Ruhr, Ferdinand Weinke, Niklas Wellen and Lukas Windfeder.