🌀FIH Pro League : Belgian men’s team outclass Germany in their first Pro League match of the season
Photo Credit : Hockey Belgium

It was inevitable that it would be a big party at Uccle Sport. After the Red Panthers’ beautiful 1-0 victory earlier in the afternoon, it was the new Olympic champion who finally had a meeting with his home crowd. And whether this audience had reacted positively! A sold-out stadium had fully backed ‘its’ Red Lions long before the game.

Just before the start of the game, ex Red Lions captain Thomas Briels was also brought in. He was handed a Lions shirt from his friend and new captain Felix Denayer with 359 in gold numbers on the back, the number of official games he played with the Reds. Thomas, who had just retired from international football, received an deserved standing ovation from the 3,200 supporters in the stadium.

The Red Lions clearly enjoyed the exuberant atmosphere created especially for them. But they also seemed clearly more than willing to put on a top performance for their audience. In the first quarter there were already a number of good opportunities, mainly resulting from fast and accurate team play. But the balls didn’t go in yet.

That changed after four minutes in the second quarter, when Sebastien Dockier coolly tapped the far post, on a pass from Boon (1-0). Our “Wall” was also sharp, because with a rare loss of the ball by the Belgians, he kept the ball authoritatively out of his goal, eye to eye with a German attacker. Five minutes later De Kerpel came up from the right, crossed towards Charlier whose hard volley put the 2-0 on the board.

After the break, the Lions continued on their momentum, with sharp and flashy play, as befits an Olympic champion. Young William Ghislain had his first shot after five minutes, but it went just wide. But two minutes later he did score. He was well positioned at the far post to nicely tap in a cross from Cosyns.

In the fourth quarter, the Belgians started to play a little slower, which gave the Germans more space. This was perfect for Vincent Vanasch to show once again that he is the true ‘patron’ in goalkeeper land, with 3 great saves in quick succession. On the counterattack of the Belgians, Ghislain deviated the ball nicely to Nico De Kerpel, who scored the 4-0 with a cunning backhand lob. A few minutes later, Germany could finally clear the 0 on the board, when Schachner got the ball past Vanasch (4-1). This gave the Lions a new boost and first Nico De Kerpel again and finally Vanasch aimed two more.

The final score was 6-1, with a 5-star performance from the Belgians, who were able to spoil their supporters again after 18 long and difficult months and did so with gusto. Tomorrow there will be a second game against the same Germany. Curious what this will bring!


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