And it’s Switzerland again. For the third time in four years, the German national ice hockey team can reach the World Cup semi-finals against their long-term rivals. Last year the coup against the Swiss took place in Riga, two years earlier in the same place.

The next successful chapter against Switzerland will follow on Thursday (4:20 p.m./ProSieben and MagentaSport) in Ostrava, Czech Republic. “The event won’t be nice,” announced NHL professional Nico Sturm.

Patience and toughness on the ice will play a big role against the strong Swiss. “It must be disgusting for them,” explained Sturm. Just like last year in Riga, when the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) as outsiders surprised the Swiss, who dominated in the preliminary round, 3-1. The German team was also the final destination for the Swiss at the 2010 and 2021 home World Cup in Riga. “You can’t get rid of the stories of the last few years. They are fuel in the fire,” said Captain Moritz Müller.

Seven NHL professionals in the Swiss squad

For the Swiss media, there can only be one winner in the new quarter-finals. “If we don’t defeat the Germans on Thursday, then when?” asked the news portal “Watson”. With seven stars from the NHL, the current team is considered the best Swiss squad ever. They also have an exceptional player in their ranks with captain Roman Josi from the Nashville Predators. “Roman Josi walks across the ice like Jesus once walked across the water,” wrote “Watson” after his strong performances in the preliminary round.

“We don’t have Jesus,” replied national coach Harold Kreis. “We have a really hard-working team.” The 65-year-old also has no objection to the role of an outsider. “If they see it that way, I’m happy to accept it,” emphasized the coach. “Based on the name, they’re already favorites,” added Sturm, who plays for the San Jose Sharks in North America. “But I don’t see us as blatant underdogs.”

On the other hand, the German team has largely convinced in the previous games in the Czech Republic. 34 goals are the German record for a World Cup preliminary round, participation in the quarter-finals was already secured before the last match day. The two 1:6 defeats against the USA and Sweden also had a healing effect. “If we hadn’t had them, we wouldn’t have addressed some things so consistently,” said veteran Müller from the Kölner Haien.

JJ Peterka and Topform

After the Sweden game, the team sat down without a coach and spoke openly about the situation. This was followed by four wins, some of which were clear, and a safe place in the top eight. “We will be ready,” said Germany’s top scorer JJ Peterka.

With five goals and four assists, the NHL forward from the Buffalo Sabers is once again in top form. Last year he also scored in the quarter-final win against Switzerland. “It’s always fun to play against them. They might be a bit afraid of us if you look at the last few years,” said the 22-year-old.

However, the German pros are not expecting a goal festival like in the previous preliminary round matches. “I would be happy with a 1-0 after extra time,” said NHL pro Sturm, who hopes to start his much-needed vacation after the final weekend in the Czech capital. “We all want to go to Prague, that was our big goal,” said Dominik Kahun.