With great worries about exceptional striker Tim Stützle and a hard-fought victory, Germany’s national ice hockey team is heading for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Finland. After the 3: 2 (2: 1, 0: 1, 1: 0) against outsiders France, the selection of national coach Toni Söderholm must fear the loss of the NHL attacker from the Ottawa Senators and thus a weakening. Attacker Leo Pföderl (46th minute) from champion Eisbären Berlin scored important points with his winning goal on Monday in Helsinki

After a check against his knee, the 20-year-old Stützle had long since disappeared into the dressing room with a pained face. It was absurd that this fou was not punished – on the contrary, Stützle conceded two minutes after looking up and the French then equalized in the power play after the wrong decision to make it 1-1.

According to the German Ice Hockey Federation, there was initially no diagnosis. “That will probably be decided in the next few hours. We very much hope that things will continue for him,” said attacker Marcel Noebels, who did the preparatory work for the winning goal, at Sport1. “We played in the last third to win and not to see what happens.”

In addition to Pföderl, the two Düsseldorfers Daniel Fischbuch (3rd minute) and Alexander Ehl (18th) scored after a strong German start. But the biting French fought back again and again and equalized twice through NHL pro Alexandre Texier from the Columbus Blue Jackets (15th) and Hugo Gallet (32nd).

With the second success in the third group game, the DEB selection still took the next step towards the hoped-for path to the knockout round. “We scored important points for the quarter-finals here today, even though it was difficult,” Noebels continued. After two days off, the game will only continue against Denmark on Thursday (3:20 p.m. / Sport1 and MagentaSport).

Should Stützle actually drop out, further reinforcements from North America would be all the more important: The DEB contacted Lukas Reichel from the Rockford IceHogs and Leon Gawanke from the Manitoba Moose after their end of the season in the second-rate North American AHL. Before the game against France, Söderholm did not know whether both were healthy and would be traveling to Finland at short notice. Shortly before the World Cup, another very important creative attacker had failed in the form of former NHL striker Dominik Kahun.

Striker Reichel as a “constant creativity factor” (Söderholm) and defender Gawanke with strengths in build-up play and power play drew attention to themselves at the last World Cup in Riga and contributed to the semi-finals. The next few days will show whether the team’s performance is more likely to be fourth in 2021 or tenth at the Olympics.

Stützle was the great hope for the offensive. Still with the young Sturm talent, Germany confirmed on Monday the good performance of 2-1 on Saturday against Slovakia, who took part in the Olympics. The Söderholm squad quickly took the lead with a majority and was clearly dominating afterwards. Then the focus was on Stützle: After a check, the player from Viersen collapsed on the ice. And then made a stupid move on the way to the dressing room when he hit his stick and weakened his team with an unnecessary penalty time. Goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger, who this time was preferred to NHL goalie Philipp Grubauer from the Seattle Kraken, was beaten with a man down.