Croatia And Germany Play For The Top Position Today

Total Croatia News

photos: P. Montigny

The two unbeaten team of the Group C will meet today to decide the group winner

Four wins each on their account, a clean record for both sides – and a handball ‘classic’ ahead. The match between Germany vs. Croatia will decide the top position of Group C on January 20, 2017, in Rouen. It is the duel of 2003 (Croatia) and 2007 (Germany) world champions, and the duel between the reigning European champions Germany and the 2016 bronze medallist.

The sold-out contest in the Kindarena lifts the chances of the winner to proceed to the final weekend of this World Championship in Paris. The winner will play their knock-out stage match(es) in Paris; the losers have to travel far south to Montpellier.

The main issue for Croatian team is the knee injury for Domagoj Duvnjak, so his appearance in today’s game is questionable. Coach Babić pointed out that there are hopefully four more games for Croatia to play, so there is a possibility for Duvnjak to extend his rest today.


Regarding statistics, all facts speak for the Croatians. Looking at the matches of major events (European and World Championships, Olympic Games), the balance is seven wins for the Croats, one draw and one single victory for Germany, which dates back to the EURO 2002.

Friday’s clash for the group win at Rouen is the re-match of the 2003 World Championship final (34:31) and 2004 Olympic final (26:24, both won by Croatia), when the former golden handball generations of both sides locked horns – including today’s Croatian assistant coaches Petar Metličić and Venio Losert, and the chief coordinator Ivano Balić .

The last clash of the two was in the placement round of the 2015 World Championship in Qatar, when again the Croatians won, this time 28:25. This was, so far, the only German defeat against any European team at World Championships since Dagur Sigurdsson became the head coach in 2014.

Nearly half of the players of Croatian and German teams are teammates: Domagoj Duvnjak (CRO) plays for THW Kiel like Andreas Wolff, Rune Dahmke, and Patrick Wiencek. Luka Stepancic (CRO) and Uwe Gensheimer both arrived as newcomers last summer at Paris Saint-Germain. Željko Musa (CRO) and Finn Lemke build the middle block at German club SC Magdeburg, Jakov Gojun (CRO) plays together with Paul Drux, Silvio Heinevetter and Steffen Fath at Fuchse Berlin and finally Tobias Reichmann (GER) plays for Champions League winner Kielce in Poland such as the Croatians Manuel Štrlek and Filip Ivić.

“Matches like these against the Croats are the icing on the cake, the ones you train for all the year,” says line player Wiencek, adding: “Paris is the nicer city, this is why we want to go there immediately.” For his Kiel colleague Dahmke, “it will be fun to face Duvnjak. Regardless the result we will still love each other after the final whistle,” the left wing said with a smile on his face. And despite the significance of the match, the players will see each other on their match-free Thursday, as Duvnjak unveiled: “Though we are in different team hotels I will meet my Kiel teammates in the city center for a coffee. No problem.”

TCN will bring you the full match report after the game, scheduled 17.45 CET.


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