FIH Pro League 2020: Last 3 minutes German blitzkrieg shatters Spain: A last three-minute German blitzkrieg shattered Spain in the FIH Pro League 2020 on Saturday. With three goals in last four minutes, Germany notched up its first straight win (5-1) after a splendid penalty shootout win yesterday. Thus Germany and India have identical five points aggregate after the opening round double game encounters against their opponents the Netherlands and Spain.
After a superb tough and close fight, the Germans were all over their opponents territory in the last five minutes as they pumped in three goals in quick succession.
It was one of those rare occasions when the team management in its endeavour to steal an equalizer replaces goalkeeper and instead concedes three goals in a row to end with a huge defeat. This is what happened to Spain today.
The blitzkrieg saw Constantin Staib run a fifth goal into the net to secure a strong win just before the final whistle after Lukas Windfeder was able to slot home a penalty corner after Spain had removed their goalkeeper to get an on-field advantage. The goal scoring spree was set in motion by a beautiful run by Florian Fuchs that led to a penalty corner. Spain had already removed its keeper. Lukas Windfeder makes no mistake as he makes it 4-1.
A smashing shot, struck on the half volley was enough to effectively seal the game for Germany with just over five minutes left to play. Miltkau picked up the bouncing cross and struck it smartly home past Cortes.
With Marc Miralles giving his side a lifeline in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Spain was scenting of another goal by getting set for a frenetic last 10 minutes. But it was not to be.Mark Appel stood between Spain and his firt.
A sharp ball into the circle from Marc Salles gives Marc Miralles the chance to shoot home. Appel made the initial save but the striker was on hand to fire home. Can Spain make something happen with seconds of the third quarter remaining, was perhaps storming most of minds watching the game.
Ricardo Sanchez earned his side a penalty corner but Mark Appel pulled off a great save to deny Pau Quemada the opportunity to reduce the deficit. A foul by Germany’s Lukas Windfeder upon Llorenc Piera drew a penalty corner but again Spain could not make the chance count. Great work from David Alegre has given Spain an opening. His jinking run drew the foul that earned Spain the penalty corner. Pau Quemada was unable to capitalise as Mark Appel made the save.
There was little that Spain’s ‘keeper Quico Cortes could do about Germany’s second goal as the ball was fired into the circle and Timur Oruz was on hand to touch the ball home.
Spain’s Frederic Soyez knows his team needed to move up a level as he said: “We need to play with more ambition and try to be more aggressive. We need to press more and try to make more scoring chances.”
His counterpart, Kais al Saadi was the happier of the two coaches but still demanded more: “Intense first half but I am not satisfied with our finishing in the circle. If we can have clinical finishes and some good defence, then it will be a good game.”
As the whistle blew for half-time, Frederic Soyez and his side needed to discover a way to break down the German defence. The attacking power of Christopher Ruhr, backed up by good play by Niklas Wellen and Constantin Staib in particular, is keeping Spain’s defence busy. It was Spain’s turn to be reduced to ten players as captain Delas was shown a green card.
Spain was working hard, their creative attacks instigated by Marc Salles and Miguel Delas but the German defence was rock solid and Spain was always in danger of being caught by a German counter.
Could Spain capitalise on a one player advantage as Oruz took a two minute break?
Wellen and Ruhr were creating all sorts of problems for Spain as they played searching balls and perform some dribbling trickery in the opening quarter. Ruhr was definitely in a scoring mood today and his team looked sharper than it did in yesterday’s game. The issue was could Spain contain the attack and apply pressure of its own in the second quarter?
Germany’s Christopher Ruhr scored his third goal in two days after he capitalised on some great work from Martin Zwicker.Niklas Wellen won first penalty corner of the match for Germany. Lukas Windfeder’s shot is saved on the line. Benedict Furk had a good attempt in opening minutes as his shot tested Quico Cortes in the Spain goal.
Anthems were belted out and the crowd in the Estadio Betero was in good voice as the two teams looked to continue at the pace at which they performed in the opening match. Quick reminder: Germany took the lead through Christopher Ruhr but Spain pulled one back and then took lead before Ruhr scored a second. Germany then won the bonus point at the shoot-out.
Looking back on the previous day’s match, the two coaches gave their views.
“Our offensive play must improve, defensively we were quite good. We have brought in five fresh players today to see what they can do.” said Germany’s Head Coach Kais al Saadi.
“We will look to play at the same pace as yesterday. We will just improve some details and be more effective in front of goal. We hope to play at the same level today.” said Frederic Soyez, Head Coach of Spain.
In this second match between the two European rivals, Spain was looking to continue the fast, attacking play that left Germany chasing shadows for much of the previous day’s encounter. Germany felt heartened by the 2-2 score line and subsequent shoot-out bonus point.