🌀FIH Pro League : German women's team lose their first Pro League match against Belgium
Photo Credit : Benoit D.

In the first of two FIH Pro League games in Brussels, the extremely young German women’s team at just under 22 years of age suffered a 1-0 defeat. Ambre Ballenghien, the best player on the pitch, took advantage of a corner when the DHB team was outnumbered.

Ultimately a deserved victory for the third place in the European Championship, who had a little more chances and more corners, but the German talent pool did extremely well in Brussels.

With Jule Bleuel, Katharina Kirschbaum, Philin Bolle and Marisa Martin-Pellegrina, four active players celebrated their debut in the senior squad, which in Belgium makes a clear statement against violence and exclusion with the logo of “Hockey against Racism” on the jersey.

Xavier Reckinger : “I asked the girls to be passionate in order to compensate for the Belgian women’s greater experience. They did that 100 percent. We paid a bit of the hardship shortly before the end, especially in dealing with the shortfall situation, but basically there were a lot of very good things here today. I’m proud of the four experienced guys who took the youngsters away with them. That was a good start for a number of inexperienced players. ”

Noelle Rother : “We are a bit disappointed with the result. The start was a bit nervous, but we managed to get rid of it well in the second quarter. Of course, while we are a newly formed team, you noticed that Belgium is very well-rehearsed and was able to play at a high level against Holland in the Pro League this week. Especially in the third and fourth quarters we couldn’t quite keep up the performance of the second quarter, so it became a bit of ping-pong hockey and went back and forth. The 0: 1 is really not a downfall. Tomorrow we want to take the three points with us. ”

Nele Aring : “That was a very close match, which we as such a young team can build on for tomorrow. The defensive performance was already very strong today. We have to be a little braver on the offensive. But if we fight our way back into the match tomorrow via the strong defense, we can also beat the Belgians. I’m looking forward to this second chance! ”

The match started because of technical problems – a crane that was too dangerously close to the field had to be removed – only 100 minutes late. The hosts put pressure on the inexperienced German team early on and tried to force mistakes.

Noelle Rother had to parry twice from Ambre Ballenghien’s shots in the first few minutes. Then Belgium took the first penalty corner (4th) and Rother was there too, but at the expense of the second corner, which was followed by the third. But the Germans also fought them off well.

Then a first good circle scene, after a counter attack via Hannah Gablac, but a German foot in the circle destroyed it (8th). Rother held in the subsequent counterattack of the Belgians again very strongly with a bat parade against Ballenghien. A good right-wing attack via Fleschütz and Carlotta Sippel was repulsed by the long corner (14th). So it went with the goalless draw in the second quarter.

The Germans were able to keep Belgium out of their neighborhood better, even if the hosts had a little more of the game at the beginning. But the DHB team then came through a lot of possession to more security and their own attacks.

Hannah Gablac checked Aisling D’Hooghe seriously for the first time in the Belgian gate, who was able to steer the mop from the right next to the gate (26th). A first German corner failed technically (27th). The Germans were now absolutely at eye level, acted with a lot more self-confidence and went into the break with a deserved 0-0.

And the Germans continued with similar self-confidence, trying to create their own attacks, had more possession. And Hannah Gablac then only put a backhand ball on the outside board (37th). On the other hand, Anna Kilian, who stood between the posts for the second half, was there against Stephanie vanden Borre (38th).

The game swayed a little back and forth between the circles during this phase because both teams built in slight technical errors. Kilian then held out very strongly against Ballenghien and two other strikers who appeared freely in front of her (43rd).

So it went with the 0-0 in the last quarter. It was Kilian who was there after losing the ball in the build-up against Judith Vandermeiren and parried with the glove (47th). Belgium braced themselves with pressure against the penalty shootout, which now threatened more and more against the young German troops.

Aring then saw a hard yellow card (50th) because of a collision in midfield, so that the Germans had to act outnumbered for five minutes.

After a counterattack when the Germans gave up the ball too easily in the Belgian circle, the Belgians took their fourth penalty corner, which Ambre Ballenghien pinned to the top left for a 1-0 lead (53rd).

In the same number, the Germans lost another ball on their own circle, after which the Belgians took the video evidence for a corner (58th) and got it right. Anna Kilian held the corner strong.

And 100 seconds before the end, Reckinger then took his keeper from the place to press on the equalizer again. But Belgium did it cleverly and stayed in possession, giving the Germans no chance.

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