Goal scorer Leo Pföderl
IMAGO / IMAGO/ActionPictures
With a mandatory win against Slovakia, the German national ice hockey team saved their chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the Ice Hockey World Championships in Finland.
The team of national coach Toni Söderholm won 2:1 (0:0, 2:1, 0:0) and showed the physical and fighting qualities that had distinguished them in the successful tournaments of the past years.
Germany had won the silver medal at the 2018 Olympic Games, last year at the World Cup it was only in the semifinals against Finland that they were eliminated.
The 2022 Olympics in Beijing, on the other hand, was a step backwards.
Against Slovakia, however, the German defenders threw themselves into every shot with passion.
The defense was under massive pressure, especially in the final third, but goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer also had a strong day and didn't allow another goal.
Matthias Plachta from the Adlern Mannheim with a strong solo effort (22nd minute) and Leo Pföderl (27th) from the Eisbären Berlin shot the German team to success against their direct competitor.
In Beijing, the bankruptcy against Slovakia had caused disillusionment and the early return home.
This time the Germans only allowed Kristian Pospisil to score (32nd).
In front of 4387 spectators in the more than half full hall in Helsinki, the goals in the second period finally brought the decision.
In the first group game there was a 3:5 defeat against Canada.
The Söderholm squad took self-criticism and encouragement from the first game against the record world champion.
For the second World Cup appearance, former NHL professional Korbinian Holzer had expected a game at "equal footing".
Finally, world number ninth Germany met eighth (Slovakia) and the expected balanced and competitive duel developed.
Four wins for the quarterfinals
In the further course of the tournament, France (on Monday), Italy (Friday) and Kazakhstan (May 22) are considered beatable opponents, with four wins the quarter-finals would be almost certain.
In addition, the DEB team is up against Denmark and Switzerland, in these games it should then be about the placement in the preliminary round group A - the better Germany is placed, the easier the opponent could be in the quarterfinals.