"Madness without prior notice": Handball national player Häfner on the corona chaos at the EM
Created: 01/14/2022 10:59 am
The DHB team meets Belarus at the start of the European Championship in Bratislava.
The photo shows national player Kai Häfner (MT Melsungen) in the pre-season game against France in early January.
© Tilo Wiedensoler/Imago Images
The European Handball Championship in Hungary and Slovakia is all about Corona.
National player Kai Häfner explains how difficult the situation is for the pros.
Munich – A handball championship in the middle of the pandemic: The tournament in Hungary and Slovakia is a risk, especially for the players.
That's how the German backcourt veteran Kai Häfner sees it.
"Currently you just can't risk doing anything," Häfner told
The risk “hangs over you.
At three points.
Firstly, there is a very simple risk of becoming infected.
Or a teammate.
And every infected person then throws everything upside down within the team.
The madness then begins almost without prior notice.”
Handball EM: Kai Häfner refuses to criticize national players who cancel the tournament
The euphoria in the German environment is unusually low this time, also because the squad is weakened due to Corona. Some players canceled their participation because of the pandemic. Understandable for Häfner: “Everyone has their own, very personal reasons. And nobody likes to miss a big tournament, we are all top athletes. But if someone decides to take this step, then I respect that.”
Since it is now the second tournament under pandemic conditions, according to Häfner, you know “what you are getting into” – even if it is not a pleasant situation for the athletes.
Coordinating the mostly new DHB squad is currently difficult, says Häfner: “If you only train and sit in the hotel, then the things that you do together as a team to distract yourself or to come together as a team are missing. "
Häfner warns of German group - France's superstar "stunned" about conditions
The German squad is difficult to assess - even for Häfner. He warns of the preliminary group of the DHB with the opponents Poland, Belarus and Austria: "We didn't look good against the Poles and they are always a dangerous team. Belarus has a real full-throttle squad. And Austria was the big positive surprise in its own country two years ago. Of course I trust that we can make progress there. That must be our claim. But the group is treacherous.”
Other nations have expressed "stunned" by the conditions, such as France superstar Nikola Karabatic.
"We have followed strict protocols to avoid catching the virus.
And then we arrive here at the hotel and we move among guests who are not wearing masks.
We also eat at the same places.” The French have their team hotel in Hungary, where there are no spectator restrictions at the games.
Only 25 percent of the spectators are allowed in Slovakia, the German team is accommodated there and satisfied with the conditions.
The European Handball Championship 2022 will take place in Hungary and Slovakia from January 13th to 30th. Here you can find out when the DHB team is on duty and where you can watch the games on TV and live stream.
The European Handball Championship 2022 will take place in Hungary and Slovakia from January 13th to 30th.
Here you can find out when the DHB team is on duty and where you can watch the games on TV and live stream.