Germans eye strong show

We are hoping to win despite the hectic scheduling: skipper Korn

Germans eye strong show

For hockey powerhouses Germany, the run-up to the inaugural Hero Hockey World League Final had been far from ideal. The two-time Olympic champions had been busy with their ongoing indoor tournament in December but promised to give their best against the top teams in the competition.

Captain Oliver Korn weighed the importance of the tournament in view of the forthcoming World Cup but felt the cramped scheduling of the year would make it hard for the players. Though Korn was appreciative of the FIH gesture of organising the tournaments like Hockey World League Final, he felt top teams had little to benefit out of it.

“I think the whole idea of the tournament was to make the World Cup better. But if you see the teams that have qualified for the World Cup, they are the same like every time. It is always good to have more tournaments but the players have to get the rest as well. The idea to give every country an opportunity is a good idea but the top teams like to focus on the main events and they have to play till the end,” Korn told reporters during the trophy unveiling ceremony on Wednesday.

“With Champions trophy and World Cup happening this year, it will be difficult for the players. I think some of teams who will come for Champions Trophy will have some new players.”

Korn said they would be focussing on playing good hockey. “We don’t go out and say we want to win the tournament. We want to play good hockey. It is an important tournament as it is the first step on (the) way to the World Cup.

“Our preparation, though, was pretty bad. Germany is in the middle of the indoor season right now.  So, most of these players who are here have played indoor hockey in December. It is a big tournament for us. To come here and play outdoor again is not the best preparation for such a strong tournament. “We do not have our full side with some of the guys still playing in European Cup indoor tournament We have some young guys who will get their chances.”

Meanwhile, Australia captain Mark Knowles felt the League final was a step towards grooming hockey.

“I definitely see the importance.  FIH has done a great job in grooming hockey, to involve more countries. Unlike Champions Trophy where rankings are taken into account, you have to earn your place to be here. Sometimes in Champions Trophy, the top eight teams are the not the top eight of that time, but we have got the best eight teams here in this tournament,” Knowles said.

 “We all play tournaments wanting to win and as Australians we don’t like to come 3rd, 4th, or 5th. The timing of the tournament is ideal. We have 20 guys who would play in HIL straight after this.”

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