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Germany and Spain go for gold at EHF EURO 2016

PREVIEW: Ahead of the final at the Men's EHF EURO 2016, Spain count on their experience as one of team's biggest assests, while the young German team is on a high following six tournament wins in a row

Photo: Uros Hocevar

Will the young German spring the next sensation at the EHF EURO or will Sunday mark a historic day for Spain?

This question will be answered in the final of the EHF EURO 2016 on Sunday at 17:30 hrs in the TAURON Arena in Krakow.

And there is even a bit more at stake than just the championship plate: Both teams are already directly qualified for the World Championship 2017, but the winner will also make it straight to the 2016 Olympic Games.

While Germany already topped the EHF EURO podium in 2004, Spain still wait for their first European title.

"We can turn this into a historic day for Spain," says left back Antonio Garcia.

His side had been among the medal contenders at Poland 2016 right from the start, but probably not many had Germany on their list – especially after they had lost the preliminary round opener against Spain 29:32.

The two teams not only faced in the preliminary round, but also twice in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, with both teams winning their respective home matches (Germany 29:28, Spain 26:20).

But in those matches back in April 2015 the German squad look completely different. On Sunday stars like Uwe Gensheimer, Patrick Groetzki, Patrick Wiencek, Christian Dissinger are Steffen Weinhold are missing because of injuries.

The only player Spain miss is injured playmaker Dani Sarmiento.

The teams' results at this EHF EURO are fairly similar, both have won six times and lost once.

Germany were beaten by Spain in the first game of the preliminary round, while Denmark beat Spain in the main round's first day.

In their semi-final matches on Friday, Germany left Norway behind 34:33 after extra time, while Spain beat Croatia 33:29.

Across all matches Spain and Germany played against each other, Spain have won 32 times, lost 24 times and tied five times, the overall goal difference though is 1448:1347 in favour of Germany.

Two matches made history: In 2004 Germany beat Spain in the Olympic quarter-final after double extra time and penalties to eventually become Olympic silver medallists.

Spain recorded the win in the World Championship 2013 Quarter-final and made it all the way to the gold medal from there.

It is the fourth EHF EURO final for Spain after they had reached it already in 1996, 1998 and 2006. Germany are part of the gold medal game for the third time after 2002 and 2004.

Spain reached at least the semi-final in previous major competitions such as the EHF EUROs 2012 and 2014 and the World Championships 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Three clubs from the VELUX EHF Champions League will have players returning home with silver and gold.

Joan Canellas and Rune Dahmke play for THW Kiel; Hendrik Pekeler and Gedeon Guardiola take to the court for Rhein-Neckar Löwen and Tobias Reichmann and Julen Aguinagalde play for Vive TAURON Kielce.

In terms of international experience, Spain are clearly ahead of Germany: They have 14 EHF Champions League players in their squad compared to three in the German team.

On average every Spanish players has already 87.2 international matches under his belt compared to 36.1 in the German squad.

written by Björn Pazen / ts