On Easter Monday, Bloemendaal supplemented the already bulging trophy cabinet with the fifth title in the Euro Hockey League. The defending champion, who was the first team in EHL history to prolong his title, was lord and master in the final against the German Rot-Weiss Köln (4-0). The Mussen gave ‘Mister EHL’ Florian Fuchs the leading role in his departure from the European stage.
The 31-year-old German Fuchs was extensively congratulated and hugged by his teammates afterwards. That was right. Not only because of his huge part in the victory over Rot-Weiss Köln – Fuchs was involved in all (!) Bloemendaal goals – but especially as a tribute to the unprecedented performance of the graceful attacker at the highest European top level.
Fuchs played his seventh (!) final of the EHL on Monday in the Wagener Stadium, of which he won five. He was in the final with UHC Hamburg four times, leaving the arena twice with the cup. On Monday he played the final battle with Bloemendaal for the third time. He won all those finals. A unique winning streak, which ends for Fuchs because the German will stop playing top hockey after this season. He will be missed because of his beautiful dribbles, wonderful goals and unsurpassed winning mentality. In addition, with his exemplary and sporty behavior, Fuchs is a jewel for the hockey sport.
Emotional pep talk
With all his experience, the German veteran knows better than anyone what it takes to perform at the supreme moment. That was an almost emotional pep talk to his teammates before Saturday’s final. In the pre-match huddle, Fuchs delivered a riveting motivational speech that seemed to come straight from the heart. The German touched exactly the right chord with his teammates, who then played a strong final with their Fuchsie in the leading role.
The first quarter of the EHL final was one as they often do in important games. The teams scanned each other and turned it into a game of chess. Defensively, both teams were rock solid, with the German formation especially having to use its defensive qualities because Bloemendaal had the ball much more often.
The thousands of spectators in the well-filled Wagener Stadium finally saw an opportunity on the final day of the EHL. Halfway through the first quarter Arthur van Doren sent a deep ball. Two Rot-Weiss players missed, after which it was easy for Thierry Brinkman to get a penalty corner. That was pushed hard and low by Tim Swaen, but it took top goalie Vincent Vanasch little effort to put his clog against the ball. Van Doren’s rebound lacked the conviction to hit the goal.
However, the spell was quickly broken in the second quarter. Rot-Weiss Köln first cleared a penalty corner, but Bloemendaal scored from the action that followed. A backhand shot by Floris Wortelboer was cracked by teammate Fuchs, who retained possession and skilfully lifted the ball towards the German goal. Vanasch first received help from the crossbar, but Jorrit Croon’s rebounded ball was played against the ropes: 1-0.
Seventeen minutes had been played by then. Seven minutes later it was already 2-0. Glenn Schuurman started the attack, Jasper Brinkman steamed into the circle from the right and put the ball back. As so often in his career, Fuchs was in the right place and fired with determination.
Bloemendaal was on steam and wanted to finish the job before halftime. Mathijssen’s team also got plenty of opportunities for that from the head of the circle. But whatever Teun Beins and his teammates tried in particular, Vanasch and his defenders were not to be outdone again.
That was good for the game, because it also kept the second half exciting, although Rot-Weiss Köln, which was still 2-1 too strong for Kampong on Friday, had very little to contribute. In the third quarter there was only one team that played hockey, got chances and penalty corners, but didn’t score.
Normally you shouldn’t do that against a German team. But Bloemendaal could afford it, because the power difference between the two teams was simply too great. It was therefore no surprise that it also became 3-0 in the fourth quarter. And who else but Mister EHL same took the corner, which – finally – was appreciated by Jasper Brinkman. The defender slammed the ball hard into the board.
And if the Fuchs show wasn’t big enough, the attacker also accounted for three quarters of the 4-0 with a wonderful solo. Only Roel Bovendeert was allowed to pull the trigger: 4-0.
In the last second, Fuchs also seemed to crown his great performance with a wonderful tip-in. But in the whistle, the attacker hit the bar after a pass by Thierry Brinkman. It shouldn’t spoil the fun. Fuchs celebrated the victory party with his fellow players and hundreds of Bloemendaal fans. For the last time.
Bloemendaal – Rot-Weiss Köln 4-0 (2-0)
17′ 1-0 Jorrit Croon
24′ 2-0 Florian Fuchs
51′ 3-0 Jasper Brinkman
56′ 4-0 Roel Bovendeert