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Crucial openers for an equal quartet

EHF / Björn Pazen

On Friday, the curtain will be lifted for the four group D teams in Bratislava. With reasonably new line-ups, Germany and Poland will find themselves challenged by Belarus and Austria respectively.


Germany vs Belarus
Friday 14 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Belarus have an extremely well-rehearsed team with many EHF Champions League stars, who have played together for some time, while 10 of the 19 players in the German EHF EURO 2022 are at their first European championship
  • Belarus compete in their sixth EHF EURO, having finished 10th the last three times; in their 14th appearance, Germany have won gold in 2004 and 2016, silver in 2002 and bronze in 1998)
  • German goalkeeper Andreas Wolff will face two Kielce teammates from Belarus: Artsem Karalek and Viacheslau Kulesh
  • in seven official matches to date, Germany won six times (including a 31:23 victory at EHF EURO 2020); the only Belarusian victory was in their first duel at EHF EURO 1994
  • Germany beat Olympic champions France 35:34 in their last EHF EURO test match, while Belarus cancelled their participation at a test tournament in Hungary last weekend

Alfred Gislason, coach Germany: “Belarus are supposed to be our strongest opponent in this balanced group. Almost all their players have Champions League experience, and coach Iouri Chevtsov is really clever in how to adapt the tactics.”

Iouri Chevtsov, coach Belarus: “Though the German team changed a lot, all those players face top level opponents every week in Bundesliga. This is why they are the favourites in this match.”

Austria vs Poland
Friday 14 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • this is the first time these teams meet at an EHF EURO tournament. They last played each other in test matches in 2010 and 2011, both won by Poland, and the overall balance in official matches includes three Austrian victories and four Polish wins
  • both sides have hosted EHF EURO tournaments: Poland in 2016, Austria in 2010 and co-host in 2020, when head coach Ales Pajovic’s team took their best-ever result, finishing eighth
  • Poland’s best result was at EHF EURO 2010, when they finished fourth in Vienna
  • in qualification, Austria finished second below their preliminary round opponents Germany, while Poland were among the four best third-ranked teams
  • the opener against Poland is the first official national team match for Austrian team captain Nikola Bilyk since the EHF EURO 2020. Bilyk made his comeback after a severe knee injury in the test matches against the Czech Republic in November 2021

Nikola Bilyk, team captain Austria: “We can only be successful if we function as a team. Our full focus is on Poland and we prepared intensively for their tactics. I am sure we can make a step ahead as a team.”

Patryk Rombel, coach Poland: “The match against Austria is the most crucial one. If we win, everything is possible for us in this tough group.”

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