by Lena Mandahus
On July 8-9 2017, 15 national teams from all over Europe will compete in Oslo, Norway for the title of European Champion. The next article in our European Games 2017 series is on Team Germany.
Oda Helene Schiøtz
Patrick van Halem
Interview with Head Coach Christian Zimpelmann
Quidditch Post: How are you preparing your team for European Games (EG)?
Zimpelmann: We had eight practice camps altogether and played friendlies against Belgium and Austria. In the beginning, we worked mostly on individual skills and chaser-beater coordination. During the season, the focus shifted more and more to strategic aspects. Our goal was to raise the level of quidditch in Germany altogether, find the best players, and forge a strong team out of them.
QP: What are you hoping to achieve at the tournament?
Zimpelmann: Our goal is to reach the semifinal and become one of the four best teams in Europe.
QP: Which teams do you particularly want to play against?
Zimpelmann: There can only be one answer: Norway. After two losses at the IQA World Cup 2016, we are looking forward to a rematch.
QP: What challenges have you had to face in the build-up to this tournament?
Zimpelmann: Our team is packed with a lot of talent, but compared to other teams, we were lacking some experience. Only eight of the 21 players played on the German National Team before. We are keen to show that this mix of experienced and newer players can be very successful.
QP: What are the strengths of your team? Are there any key players (or underrated players) we should watch out for?
Zimpelmann: Shortly before the tournament, we lost three of our most important chasers – Ewelina Wolska, Emely Joost, and Johannes Klein-Peters – due to injuries. Since we rely on a strong team-play without a strict focus on single key players, we will be able to compensate these losses. In relation to other teams, our strongest position is probably female chaser/keeper.
QP: Your NGB has tripled in size since last year. How has this affected your national team?
Zimpelmann: With almost 40 quidditch teams in Germany, we had a much larger pool of interested players this year. In the end, 10 different teams are represented in the National Team. While we could recruit a lot of talent, it was a challenge to bring these players together and form a well-coordinated team. After the final four-day practice camp in Passau, we are even more confident that we succeeded in doing so.
With the massive growth happening all over Germany in the past year, the talent pool in the country has greatly increased, which resulted in a German roster that is stronger than ever before. The team consists of players from 10 different teams, with top players from all over the country competing together in Oslo.
In Germany’s quaffle department, Hanna Große, Ida Meyenberg, and Nadine Cyrannek, all skillful ball handlers, stand out as extremely capable keepers who know how to coordinate their team on the pitch. Captain Leander Troll and Team World chaser Patricia Heise are also both highly experienced players who are quick to seize opportunities in offence and are always aware in defence.
The German beater game is decidedly aggressive with very physical players. Sebastian Elster, Oda Helene Schiøtz, and Borut Bezgovšek are all strong tacklers who do not fear to go as far as the opposing team’s keeper zone to regain bludger control.
Germany’s seekers are also a force to be reckoned with. With Sami Fekkak, who made the winning snitch catch for the Three River Dragons Passau at the 2017 German Championship, as well as Maximilian Martens from the Berlin Bluecaps, the team has two very fast players who will definitely be an asset in SWIM games.
Team Germany’s speed, aggression, and physicality, especially in their beater department, will certainly be an advantage against weaker teams. What could be a potential weakness is the amount of players from different German teams in the squad, which might mean that their synergy is a little compromised. However, as friendly matches against the Belgian National Team (who came seventh at World Cup 2016) showed, the German side can also keep up with Group A teams, as they won two of the three matches played. Therefore, it would not be surprising if they could beat Belgium again and make it into the top four at the European Games.