I can name three things. The World Cup is much stronger than last year. The NHL is back, there are really good players in Finland. And I’m also happy from a German point of view. We have three NHL players with us, Philipp Grubauer in goal, who has won the Stanley Cup before, Tim Stützle, who played a very strong year in Ottawa, with a strong ending in particular. And with Moritz Seider, whom we saw last year, it will be exciting to see how he has developed. In his first year in Detroit, he played like crazy, so in terms of play, he was very calm and physically incredibly uncompromising. I’m really looking forward to that. And then of course it is a determination of where the German team stands – after a great World Cup came a weak Olympics. Now we will see where we really stand.
The squads of the other nations are a lot better if we compare that to Latvia’s World Cup last year. If you look at the Canadian squad, they’re a title contender for me. Switzerland has never been so well occupied, they have seven NHL players with them.
That’s true, but the Swiss should still get a medal with the squad. And then we have Slovakia, who surprisingly won bronze at the Olympics, and the Danes, who also played well in Beijing and also have a good squad. You play against these teams to reach the Quarterfinals. And this goal is also realistic for German ice hockey, this goal. If things go well and you have the right players with you, then it can go on.
If you look at German ice hockey, but also at ice hockey from other nations, you can’t always expect such steady growth. German ice hockey can’t produce three NHL players every year, we’re just not that far in terms of the quality of the youngsters. We’re not there when it comes to the number of players, and we’re not there at the DEL either, so that the young players are used enough. A lot of things are missing there. But a lot of things have improved, there’s more to come. This is very different than before.
We don’t know that yet. Someone else can follow, there are still a few spots left in the squad. By the way, Leon Gawanke is also an issue.
So basically it works the same. Basti Schwele and I will again comment on the games of the group, i.e. the German group. Jana Wosnitza, known from the double pass, will moderate in the studio. Before every game there is a half-hour pre-run and then after the games there are analyzes and on the days off, of course, there is also background information. The German national team is our top priority, no question. I have been accompanying the DEB team as an expert since 2008 and it is already clear that interest is constantly increasing. There are a lot of spectators who come to the World Cup every year. The charisma of the national team is strong, especially when it is successful.
We have three incredibly strong goalkeepers in Grubauer, Niederberger and Strahlmeier. I’ve already talked about Seider, he’s incredibly far at the age of 21 – Stützle is also at the forefront. You have to name these players before you go to the reliable greats like Moritz Müller, Marcel Noebels or Leo Pföderl. All in all, I have to say: I’m optimistic.