Germany women & Belgium men victorious on return of FIH Hockey Pro League
Lausanne, Switzerland: After six long months, the FIH Hockey Pro League made a welcome return on Tuesday (22 September), with Germany women and Belgium men both recording fine victories in double headers between the neighbouring nations in Düsseldorf.
The first FIH Hockey Pro League match since March went the way of Germany, who shook off any rustiness caused by the lengthy lay-off by recording a 2-0 victory over Belgium’s Red Panthers.
Remarkably, it was Die Danas’ first FIH Hockey Pro League match of the season, with the COVID-19 global health pandemic putting the competition on hold before they could even take to the field.
Despite a strong start from the visiting Belgians, Germany were thoroughly deserving of the three points, dominating possession, circle penetration and penalty corner statistics as well as the score-line, with Naomi Heyn and Lena Micheel scoring the decisive goals.
Germany’s Janne Müller-Wieland, who was named Player of the Match, said: “I think in the end we were more aggressive, maybe. We had more chances as well, so I think it is a fair win. We have to have a good cool-down. We only have 24 hours before we are playing again, and there is still a long list [of things] to improve for us.”
Belgium’s Barbara Nelen said: “I think it was a difficult game. We started a new season now, with new girls, and two new ‘presses’. We tried a lot of things. We made some mistakes in the press, and I think Germany also found directly the solutions. They are a smart team, so that is why it was difficult to defend.”
More information about this match can be found by clicking here.
In the men’s match, reigning world champions Belgium found themselves under early pressure from hosts Germany but grew in stature as the game progressed, going on to record a resounding 6-1 victory over their European rivals.
The Red Lions took the lead just before the break thanks to Gauthier Boccard before quickfire goals from Alexander Hendrickx, William Ghislain and Nicolas de Kerpel opened up a 4-0 advantage just minutes after half time. Lukas Windfeder’s ferocious penalty corner pulled a goal back for Germany, but strikes from Antoine Kina and Loick Luypaert ensured that Belgium claimed a comfortable win to extend their lead at the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League table.
Player of the match Boccard, who scored arguably the goal of the game with a brilliant individual strike to break the deadlock, said: “I think we pressed well in the second quarter and the second half. We won some good balls in their half, and we started to get some early goals. For the rest, when you score three or four goals you could see the confidence. We had good ball possession and finished the game well.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s rematch against Germany, Boccard said his team would prepare ‘the same way as we did today. We have to lift our level a bit more, like we did by the end of the game. The second game will be different, it is zero-zero and we will go for a second win.”