Monday, February 05, 2007

Faded myths - Dieter Waltke vs. Famous Germans - Heiner Brand

Germany has become World Champion in handball yesterday. History repeating after 29 (!) years.
In 1978 Germany won the final game against Russia with Heiner Brand as a player, now he is the coach for already 10 years.
The World Championship 2007 took place in Germany. Even with the home field advantage there were only few happy omens. The team had to suffer from a lot of injuries in the run-up to the games.
Only few people were courageous enough to talk about a title.

Heiner Brand

The coach promised nothing. Many people expected him to promise the championship. He was clever enough not to do so. He preferred to work painstakinly. He knew about the strength of his players and the weaknesses of the opponent teams.
He knew how to form a team with the available players. Maybe other teams had better single players but Germany was "la Mannschaft" ("la Team"). When the going got tough, the tough got going.
Germany lost only one game in the preliminary round against Poland.
Against the team they beat in the final game!
Heiner Brand produced new stars by magic. In the first row Michael Kraus who was elected in the All Star team whom hardly anybody in the public knew before. And also Henning Fritz the goal keeper who regained his shape after hard times in the German Bundesliga where he was only the third keeper of THW Kiel for a certain time.
Heiner Brand is also famous for his mustache. His players wore artificial mustaches like his after the game yesterday.

Dieter Waltke

I read his story today and it was the story of the final game 1978. Dieter Waltke hadn't played a single minute in the whole tournament before the final game. He didn't play in the final game before the coach Vlado Stenzel replaced Arno Ehret for tactical instructions.
Dieter Waltke came, saw and conquered. He threw three goals in a row and led the German team to the winning road in a difficult situation. But he was replaced again after a few minutes and never played again till the end. Nobody understood.........
Dieter Waltke nowadays believes that Vlado Stenzel had not realized his performance at all because he talked to Arno Ehret. The secret will never be never be unravelled.


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