The concerns for the new season are great. “The uncertainty these days is the only certainty,” said the President of the Handball Bundesliga (HBL) Uwe Schwenker recently in an interview. How will the Corona continue to affect sport? How much will the energy crisis affect everyday handball? What about inflation? There are a few questions that have not been clarified this year and that concern the officials. After two corona-determined years, despite the existing challenges, it is also important to win back the viewers.
However, there is hope that the fight for the championship this year is more exciting than it has been for a long time. The top is wider, the competitors closer together. THW Kiel, SC Magdeburg, SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Füchse Berlin are crowding in at the top, followed by MT Melsungen, Rhein-Neckar Löwen and TSV Hannover-Burgdorf.
The Supercup already provided a first foretaste of the season, which will be shown on TV for the last time on “Sky” before the HBL switches to “S Nation Media”. In an attractive encounter, the German Cup winner Kiel secured the first title last Wednesday against the champions from Magdeburg with 36:33.
The record champions from the north hardly noticed that he currently has to do without his injured top performers Sander Sagosen and Hendrik Pekeler. On the other hand, the master made an unusual number of mistakes. Because of their exceptional talents Omar Ingi Magnusson and Gisli Kristjansson, Magdeburg can still be counted on.
Meanwhile, Flensburg made it unexpectedly exciting in the first game of the season and only narrowly prevailed at 31:30 at HSV Hamburg. Unlike last season, the 2014 Champions League winner has not had any injury-related absences this year and coach Maik Machulla can draw on the entire squad. Another plus: The goalkeeping duo of Kevin Møller and Benjamin Buric are probably the best in the league.
The fourth favorite in the title race comes from Berlin this year and today it’s up against European League participants Frisch Auf! Göppingen (4:05 p.m.) prove. With the new additions Mathias Gidsel, Viktor Kireev and Max Darj, the team has been strengthened substantially and previous weaknesses have been eliminated.
But not only the Berliners have upgraded. Mannheim has also reorganized itself around coach Sebastian Hinze, although it remains to be seen how the team will cope with the departure of its creative man Andy Schmid. The Melsung-based team, which has to integrate seven newcomers, was also changed in terms of personnel. The same applies to the Hanoverians. So it can not only be assumed that things will get tight at the top.
At the end of the table, as is so often the case, it will be difficult for the climbers to hold their own. The ASV Hamm-Westfalen had to give up some top performers. Traditional club VfL Gummersbach, on the other hand, has made it back to the top flight after three years in the second division and would like to establish itself there again. With the remarkable 30:26 win against Lemgo on the first day of the game, the team around national player Julian Köster already set a first exclamation mark
Overall, forecasts for this handball year are difficult to make. The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain – neither in terms of sport nor in terms of economy.