Carried by the fantastic atmosphere and equipped with great self-confidence, the German hockey men are aiming for the next title.

After the 3-0 win against the defending champion and ProLeague winner the Netherlands, almost 10,000 visitors to the Mönchengladbach Hockey Park rose and sang: “Oh, how beautiful that is”. Even the national coach spoke of “goosebumps”. “It’s also great for the boys. They’ve never experienced a home tournament, they don’t get much money and get up at seven o’clock every morning and go running,” said AndrĂ© Henning.

“We want to be European champions”

Scorer Niklas Wellen, who scored his first goal of the tournament, was also blown away by the support of the enthusiastic crowd. “These are the special moments in your career. The fans carry you through the tournament,” said the Krefeld player, who would like to see more moments like this at the European Championships.

After the prestige win against the Netherlands, the national coach declared the last group game against France to be a knockout game. “It’s like a quarter-final. A win means first in the group, a loss means the end of the tournament,” explained the coach.

Before the duel on Wednesday (7.30 p.m.) with the French, against whom the German team had won 5-1 in the World Cup round of 16 in January, Henning said that his selection probably needed this pressure to make it into the semifinals. “The goal is to win the group. That’s a good challenge. You can also get the impression that this team always needs to be teased a bit,” said the coach.

Germany leads Group B with four points ahead of the Netherlands and France (three each). A draw would be enough for second place if the Netherlands beat Wales at the same time. The good series of tournaments this year is also encouraging. “We haven’t lost nine games in a row at the World Cup and the European Championship,” said the national coach.