Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Leaving the Champion Race? 2

Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Leaving the Champion Race?

Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Leaving the Champion Race? 3

Disappointed faces in the capital: Rhein-Neckar Löwen have not played their last matches in Berlin either. Photo by Hoffmann

By Tillmann Bauer

Berlin. Not surprisingly, Bundesliga professionals Rhein-Neckar Löwen, after a bitter bankruptcy of 22:23 in Berlin's Fuchsbau, are straight – with their heads down – in the booth section of Max-Schmeling-Halle. Knowing that this performance was by no means worthy of a top-notch team, the sting of disappointment deeply bothered everyone. Freshly showered waiting for players who had cleaned their bodies at record speed, ready to depart in front of a black team bus that should bring Baden to Berlin Airport on Sunday night. After a disappointing performance in the capital, more than ever before, the question came to their minds: Is this defeat synonymous with leaving the championship race?

Patrick Groetzki, who is currently negotiating a contract extension, included a shower faucet as one of the last lions, because – as always very well – he spoke to media representatives for the first time. The right-back, who has been playing Löwen for 13 years and has known the Bundesliga from the beginning, had a clear answer to that question. "I don't think Kiel will score that many points during the season," Groetzki said. After all, his lions already have eight minus points; the record champion, who dueled (7pm / sky) at the sold-out SAP Arena on Thursday night, however, presents himself extremely stable and has only lost once. Groetzki acknowledged that this would not be enough for the "top", but at the same time pushed behind him: "For the first place, everything is left."

However, the bitter reality for Groetzki and Co. is ranked sixth in the rankings. Although only eleven games are over and the season will be long and exhausting – to continue to speak at the top, or at least in the Champions League fight, in a word, you should leave no points in a home game against Kiel. "It's the strongest team in Germany right now, Groetzki says." THW has just shown that in the last few games. "For Michael Appelgren, who, unlike Groetzky, is not to score but to prevent, this is not a reason for a deep run." I suppose we win this game. We play at home in front of a sold out house, there are only two points, "said the always positive Swede, who, by the way, even in the event of another defeat, has yet to write off the championship.

So a duel with ex-lions Hendrik Pekler, Harald Reinkind and Niklas Landin, but it doesn't end in a debacle, has to happen to the two-time German champion from Mannheim, especially something on the offensive. Neither Steffen Fäth, nor the two newcomers Niclas Kirkelokke and Romain Lagarde, who certainly need some time to get used to the demanding Bundesliga, are currently radiating confidence. Instead, the entire rear space, of which logically most decisions are made, has not been tidied up. Against THW Kiel – imbued with confidence – not good conditions …