Twelve German World Cup winners still in situ for men’s U21 Euros

Germany, the reigning men’s 2023 Junior World Cup champions, bring a formidable side to Terrassa with 12 of the side who won global gold looking to add EuroHockey U21 Championship glory to their list of titles.

They have won the competition six times but only once since 1998 – a success in Valencia in 2019 – and so they know the scale of the battle.

“Of course, we clearly aim to make the European Championships a success, but we are also aware that it has been 35 years since a team that became junior world champions also won the European Championship. Accordingly, we are aware that this will be a major challenge,” says national coach Rein van Eijk, looking into the history books with respect.

“We believe that we have a good team with a great mix of experienced and less experienced players, creative forces and workers. We can definitely improve from game to game and believe that we can bring a lot of quality to the table through our strong defence and also play a successful tournament.”

Included in that dozen of returnees for this year is Michel Struthoff who has vast experience despite his young age. He already has 21 Under-21 caps, including a silver medal at the 2021 Junior World Cup as well; that goes along with 18 for the senior German outdoor side while he also has represented his country indoors.

Teenager Paul Glander is another to pick up senior caps in the Pro League having shown his penalty corner prowess with Harvestehuder THC in the EHL. He joins Rot-Weiss Köln next season.

Ben Hasbach and Titus Wex both scored in last summer’s Under-18 Euros final win over Belgium. Wex moves up along with Nicolaus Hansen, Benedkit Geyer, Jasper Ditzer and Maximilian Stahmann from that side for their Under-21 tournament debuts.

Jannik Enaux is the other call-up who did not play a part in the World Cup heroics.

The captaincy duties will be shared three ways with Hugo von Montgelas (SC Frankfurt 1880), Tom Schmidt-Didlaukies (UHC Hamburg) and Jakob Brilla (TSV Mannherim) all listed with a “C” next to their name.

Liam Holdermann will be keen to emulate his winning goal from the JWC, one which saw him sharing the team’s top goalscorer mantle. Peer Hinrichs is younger brother of Teo, the EuroHockey Championships player of the tournament in 2023.

Their build-up for the event has been strong. They shared a pair of draws with the Netherlands in warm-up games (1-1 and 3-3), then defeated France 3-2 and 3-1 in repeats of the JWC final. They concluded the series with a 4-4 draw, a 3-1 win and 1-0 loss against Belgium.

Best performances: Winners – 6 times (1977, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1998, 2019)

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