The Clarion EuroHockey Championships starts tomorrow with a crunch game as the current Champions Germany take on the 4th placed Polish team. For the German’s their coach Stefan Kermas has set only one target for his team – “Winning the Tournament”. So we can expect an fantastic opening game.

As the top 8 European Nations face eachother in the Aréna Sparta Praha from 15th – 17th January, 20 games over 2 1/2 days it is sure to provide top class indoor hockey.

In group A we have Germany, Poland, Russia and Switzerland. Germans are the title holders from 2014 and like every year they will are favourites for gold. Coach Kermas warns that “Mats Grambusch and Timm Herzbruch are the ‘ones to watch’, “two young strikers with great offensive skills. Both are members of the German Olympic squad because of their speed, smart decision making and  great goalscoring skills. At the end of the day it is all about the players.” The second place in the group is open and both Poland and Russia will fight for the semifinal spot, Switzerland with Chris Faust on the bench could be a surprise at the Tournament. Chris is realistic as ever and said “having come up from Championship II we know this top division is not easy! We say that in Vienna, 30 minutes you can cope with the best teams but the last 10 minutes are how you lose. It is a pleasure to be in the Top Division and we hope to stay there.”

In group B we can find The Netherlands , Sweden, Austria and host from Czech Republic. The Dutch team, are the World Champions from 2015, and as such will be the main favourite for the top slot. Austria, silver medalist from WC in Leipzig, is looking for semifinal as well, but as their Manager Patrick Fischer confirmed “Our main aim is to qualify for the next World Cup” So a slot 1-6 will guarantee. His ‘one to watch’? “Michael Körper. He is a worldclass-striker at penalty corners, has an incredible instinct for scoring and also is one of the best defending-attackers in the world. An extremely unpleasant opponent!” Both Czech Republic and Sweden can surprise and especially home team will be one of the teams to watch. Swedish Coach Christoffer Bemert outlined his objectives for the event “Our goal is certainly a place in the top 6, staying in the Championship and qualifying for the next Indoor World Cup. After narrowly missing this target in Vienna in 2014, we finished in 6th place at the Indoor World Cup in Leipzig. That provides us with the confidence that this is an attainable goal, although it’s by no means guaranteed. With our best hockey and a bit of luck, we hope to achieve this goal.” Loathe to highlight any one player, he did however suggest that should Karl Hemvik be on the top of his game, then he can certainly make a difference. 

The event will be streamed LIVE – via the FIH You Tube site, link below

http://www.czechhockey.cz/en/post/watch-hockey-online/

Click here for tickets

click here to get to the venue

Address of the venue is: Aréna Sparta Praha, Podvinný mlýn 2131/11, 190 00 Praha 9-Libeň

For Instant Clips – follow us on @eurohockeyorg #EHI2016

Photograph: German Captain Mo Fuerste prepares to lift the European Cup (EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek (C)