Tanja Eisenschmid looked briefly, then the defender slammed her long-range shot with feeling and speed into the goal of the opponents from Denmark. The redeeming goal for the 3:2 success fell 0.1 seconds before the final siren and gave the German ice hockey team a relegation in the A group at the World Championships in Denmark.
Of course, a goal that late is one for history, a buzzerbeater, as you would say in basketball, an absurd thing. It couldn’t have been tighter, nicer for the winners and bitter for the relegated women from Denmark. The German team later celebrated extensively in the changing room, with Ballermann songs, the obligatory beer shower for coach Thomas Schädler, who “of course” “had never experienced a game like this”.
Shooter Eisenschmid was celebrated by her colleagues in the dressing room as “horny Tanja” and later said: “Of course we are incredibly proud now.”
Just so there is no misunderstanding: The Germans did not become world champions. If there is no sensation then, the title will once again be won by the USA and Canada. So when the really greats of world ice hockey play the final on Sunday, the German team has long since been at home, in ninth place out of ten teams, having escaped relegation by a tenth of a second.
Peter Merten, President of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB), sees this victory as “a wonderful starting point for our future in women’s ice hockey”. Why actually? The gap to the top for the Germans at this World Cup has not narrowed, but rather increased. The team still relies heavily on the Eisenschmid sisters Tanja and Nicola and on a player like Laura Kluge. The three players were also chosen as the three best German players of the tournament.
The fact is, German ice hockey has to become more visible, and slowly we have to start closing the gap to the men. Because sport deserves it, as the World Cup shows. The German women’s ice hockey league (DFEL) consists of only six teams, the men’s league DEL provides almost no help. Only in Ingolstadt, Mannheim and Berlin are there first-class teams. For example, in the men’s champion Eisbären, the women’s team runs under “Eisbären Juniors” at the parent club under, furthermore, running. A women’s game in the big arena in front of the male pros, like the Alba women’s basketball team did recently, would be a really important sign of life.