The Orangemen have booked a nice 3-2 victory over Germany on Saturday afternoon. In Hamburg, the leaders of the Pro League made the winning goal twelve minutes before the end, via Koen Bijen. It was a victory with a golden edge for national coach Jeroen Delmée.
De Brabander, who started in September as the successor of Max Caldas, has been the national coach with the best start in the history of Dutch hockey. His first twelve games did not result in a single defeat. An achievement that no coach on the bench at the Orange Men achieved. In short: a record.
That good series is logically also reflected in the position of the Pro League, in which the Netherlands has been the leader since they won the double against England. In addition, the Orange squad has played the fewest games of all nine participants, allowing them to expand their lead in the coming weeks.
The national champions score from corners
On Saturday it did not immediately look like three points were being fished out from Stadion Am Pfeilshof, the site of the German superpower Der Club an der Alster. After ten minutes, Germany opened the scoring from the second corner of the match. After the first short corner was blocked perfectly by Joep de Mol, the home team conjured up a simple, but beautiful variant from the top of the D. The ball did not go to the head of the circle, but was played straight ahead by the injector. There was captain Mats Grambusch, who pushed the ball very hard diagonally against the board: 1-0.
Grambusch became national champion last weekend with Rot-Weiss Köln. Because those German play-offs were still fresh in their legs, Die Honamas were not at war strength. The answer to that early deficit came in quarter two, via a Dutch champion. Tim Swaen, who extended the title a few weeks ago with Bloemendaal, used the very first corner of the Orange squad. It was only after eighteen minutes that the first shot (in this case a drag push) on target. That fact showed that the Netherlands had a hard time getting through the German defence in the initial phase.
The beauty of De Mol
So in quarter two things went better. Because Orange continued. Central defender De Mol got the ball in his own half and started walking with it. He came far, very far. Looked for space, found space and shot into the 1-2 with his backhand. Not just a beauty of a goal. Also a rare achievement from the Orange-Red defender, who is not exactly known as a goalscoring machine: it was his second goal in 105 appearances for the national team.
Germany, working on its last Pro League matches of this season, switched up a few gears after the break. Thanks to inspiration from technically gifted attackers such as Christopher Rühr and Thies Prinz, four corners were decorated. The last of this quarter was promoted to goal by Prinz himself. He tipped the tow of Gonzalo Peillat, the Argentine Olympic champion who now plays for Germany, hard in the roof.
The Strikers Handbook
Again the answer from the Netherlands followed at the beginning of the next quarter, ie in ‘Q4’. Koen Bijen scored a goal that could easily be in a striker’s handbook. The Den Bosch attacker timed perfectly, used his body cleverly and crawled in front of a German defender at exactly the right time. As a result, he tapped in Dennis Warmerdam’s cross and the Orange had regained the lead.
Germany was unable to fight back again. It was still exciting when they got a corner in the penultimate minute. The seventh already of the game. Maurits Visser prevented Peillat’s train from going in and the game got a shoot-out tail. It was the last highlight in the game in which coach Delmée wrote history. A victory that is in line with the principles of the national coach. Hard work, but also show enough attractive moments. It is almost a shame that the Orange Men will not play a final tournament this summer. They are simply in shape.
Germany – Netherlands 2-3 (1-2)
10. Mats Grambusch 1-0 (sc)
18. Tim Swaen 1-1 (sc)
25. Joep de Mol 1-2
43. Thies Prinz 2-2 (sc)
48. Koen Bees 2-3