After 16 games in six countries, a long FIH Pro League season of the Danas and the Honamas came to an end after the last stop in Antwerp on July 5th. Time for us to look back at eight months of the FIH Pro League. The Danas finished their season in fifth place with five wins from their last seven games, while the Honamas finished sixth. Overall, the German hockey ladies were able to earn 29 points with seven wins and five draws, of which they were able to win three shootouts. The men won six games, drew twice and went on to win both in shootouts, earning them a total of 22 points.
HONAMAS off to a good start in Argentina
The season started on November 4th and 5th for both teams in Mendoza, Argentina, against the national teams from Belgium and Argentina. In the first game of 2022/2023, the women fought their way to a 3:3 draw in regulation time, but narrowly lost 3:4 in the shoot-out. The men also scored three times and won 3-2 and secured the first three points thanks to goal scorer Tom Grambusch in the first game.
Both national teams then played against the hosts Argentina in front of a frenetic crowd. The Danas lost 4-2 to Argentina in the first game, while the men picked up the next few points. In the shoot-out, Thies Prinz turned the decisive penalty into a 4:3 winner. In the second meeting in Mendoza, the Honamas kept the upper hand against Argentina and won comfortably 3-0. At the same time, Timur Oruz completed his 100th international match for the German national team.
The Danas struck in the second game against the Argentines in the shootout. After a 2-2 draw in regular time, Nike Lorenz, Sara Strauss and Linnea Weidemann secured a 3-0 win in the penalty shootout. Overall it was a successful start for the teams, the men traveled back to Germany with eight points from the first three games and a lot of self-confidence for the World Cup in January 2023.
Valentin Altenburg assessed the tournament in Argentina as follows: “We came here to win the tournament. We didn’t succeed. Nevertheless, the team has gone through a very positive development over the course of the four games. In the last two games we have shown the virtues that it takes to win tournaments. Compared to the first two games, we added the mental strength and heart to finish the games and leave the field as winners. The mini-tournament took us a huge step towards where we want to be: becoming a tournament-winning team.”
WM and another 8 points for the DANAS
The next FIH Pro League stop for the women was February 11 in Sydney. There, Valentin Altenburg’s team met the hosts and the national team from China. The Danas were able to win both duels against the Chinese women’s hockey team (2:1, 3:0), with Nike Lorenz winning twice. The first game against the Australians was lost 0:3. In the second meeting, the Danas drew 3-3. After equalizing shortly before the end, Anne Schröder and Nike Lorenz made everything clear in the penalty shoot-out and DANAS won the shoot-out to take the extra point to Germany. Thus, after a successful trip to Australia, the Danas flew home with another eight points in their luggage and a total of eleven points.
Three points points in India after a successful World Cup
For the Honamas it was: “After the World Cup is before India.”, because after the successful World Cup in India, the team returned to India for the next FIH Pro League games on March 10th as the newly crowned Field Hockey World Champion.
In Rourkela, André Henning’s team met the hosts from India and the Australian national team twice each. The Honamas traveled to India with a slightly adjusted squad after the successful World Cup, but their exhaustion was noticeable and despite good fighting performances, the German team lost in the heat of Rourkela in three out of four cases. A 1-0 win against Australia allowed at least three points to be credited to the credit account. The winning goal scorer Malte Hellwig viewed the game as follows: “A very defensive game. We still have control at the beginning, but give it away at some stages of the game. Overall, we defend our district well and also have a very, very good goalkeeper in goal.
The Honamas had eleven points from 7 games after the India stop in the table.
“We’re coming here four weeks after the World Cup and today we’re playing the fourth match in five days. We’ve got a few injured, sick and battered today and we’re putting in a real energetic performance for that.”
After a three month break with renewed energy in London
Both teams then had a three-month break from competitive international matches, during which the players could concentrate on their club competitions. The FIH Pro League season restarted on June 16 with a streak of eight games in 17 days for both teams.
The mini-tournament in London from June 16th to 20th kicked things off with games against Great Britain. Both teams were also concerned with the squad places for the home European Championship, which takes place from August 18th to 27th in Mönchengladbach. The previous course in Wiesbaden was noticeable for the Danas in their opening game. Goals from Benedetta Wenzel and Pauline Heinz saw them win the opening game against the hosts Great Britain 2-0, the men lost 0-3 to Great Britain the following day. In the second meeting with the hosts, both teams were successful: The Danas won 4:1. There were four different goal scorers. Hanna Granitzki, Jette Fleschütz, Viktoria Huse and Pauline Heinz were successful.
After just one win in their last five games, the Honamas got back on their feet as well, edging out a Gonzalo Peillat goal nine seconds from time to defeat the United Kingdom 3-2. It was very reminiscent of the comeback kings of the World Cup.
Four wins in a row and hard-fought defeats
After the two games in London, England, we went straight to the Netherlands – to Amsterdam. There the two German national teams should meet New Zealand and of course the Netherlands.
For the Honamas, the mini-tournament began against the Blacksticks, while the Danas had to play directly against the strong Dutch women. In the end it was 4:3 for the men against New Zealand, also thanks to Gonzalo Peillat’s penalty corner quality. In the case of the Danas, on the other hand, things went worse in the game against the Dutch women. Germany lost 5-0.
“We didn’t get the counterattacks well defended. The 0:5 is of course very bitter, we tried a new tactic that we saw a lot of good things in, but in the end we didn’t take advantage of our chances up front and allowed too much behind. Then a 0:5 hurts!”
In the second game in Amsterdam, the Honamas also met Oranje’s selection. At the end of regular time it was 1-1, again Gonzalo Peillat scored the goal. The German national team secured the extra point 4:1 in the shoot-out. The Danas also picked up points in their second game in Amsterdam, beating New Zealand 3-1.
After three wins in a row, the Honamas played their second game against the Blacksticks from New Zealand in Amsterdam on June 26th. It should be the fourth win in a row, it was 4:1 in the end. The Danas met the Dutch women for a second time and wanted to make amends after the eminent defeat in the first game of this mini-tournament. Despite a good game, the scoreboard ended with a hard-fought 1:2. The Honamas’ winning streak ended in the following game against the Netherlands as the goal was boarded up. 0:2 you lost Oranje. The Danas didn’t manage to find a happy ending either. For them, the mini-tournament in Amsterdam ended in a shootout loss to New Zealand.
DANAS with a resounding victory – HONAMAS with young guns
Last stop: Antwerp. In Belgium, the Danas should come up trumps again. 6: 0 and 5: 2, the team sent the Americans home from afar. Thus, the Danas found a great end to the FIH ProLeague season 2022/23, which Valtenin Alternburg assessed as follows: “At the end of the Pro League we saw an offensive game from both teams. We often played very experimentally in our build-up game today and invited the Americans over and over again. At the same time we created a lot of chances, scored nice goals and found a really good ending to our Pro League season. I’m particularly happy that the players are still motivated and fit after the three weeks and have taken a lot with them for the coming period.”
The Honamas rotated their squad to give potential youngsters a platform for the European Championships as well as the Olympic Games in Paris. The young Honamas team narrowly lost to Spain twice with 1:3 and 3:4. In the last game in particular, the team was close to victory, but a three-time lead could not be brought over time. André Henning was nevertheless satisfied with the performance of his protégés: “The boys did an excellent job again. Already in the first game they sniffed at a draw. Today they improved again. I’m glad that we were able to give many talents who should win our medals in the future a chance on the big stage. Some players have proven that they are real options already towards the 2024 Olympics. And we’ll see most of them at the big tournaments heading into LA 2028. We have always said that we take innovative ways to remain competitive. Giving this young team a chance is exactly that way.”.
Overall, it was an FIH ProLeague season with ups and downs for the German teams. Both teams tested a lot and rotated their squads again and again. The Dana’s top scorer was Charlotte Stapenhorst. She scored six goals over the course of the tournament, notably the fact that she scored all six goals from open play. In the Honamas, Gonzalo Peillat was the best shot. Thanks to his strong penalty corner, he took fourth place in the top scorer list.
The 2022/23 season of the FIH is over – we look back – by DHB Magazin