International Ice Hockey Federation

Germany’s annus horribilis

Germany’s annus horribilis

Huge game today versus Switzerland

Published 05.05.2015 12:55 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Germany’s annus horribilis
A German win today would be a huge step to remaining in the top level of play. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The Germans are off to a 1-1 start at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship thanks to a tense 2-1 win over France and a forgettable 10-0 loss to Canada.

They face Switzerland today in a critical match for the struggling nation.

In fact, the entire program except the senior men’s team is now in Division I after a series of disappointing results this 2014/15 season.

“It’s not easy for us because we know things haven’t gone well for Germany,” admitted Patrick Reimer, “especially under-20, under-18, and women’s teams all went down. We’re in the here and now and will try our best. We had a good start and maybe now we can surprise some people.”

The U20 team had a disappointing tournament in Montreal, losing all four game in the preliminary round and then losing two games by the same 5-2 score to Switzerland in the relegation round.

The U18 team fared no better in Lucerne. It went winless in the first round (one overtime loss and three regulation time losses) and then lost two 5-3 decisions to Latvia in the relegation round.

The women, too, have not gone unscathed. At the World Women’s in Malmo just last month they lost all three games to start and then were upset by Japan in the relegation round, losing by scores of 3-2 and 2-1.

The women’s U18 team was already in Division I this year, and after a disappointing 2-3 round robin record will remain there another year.

“It’s definitely not good for our program,” admitted Michael Wolf. We also know it’s tough for us. We have a lot of guys who are not here, so nobody expects anything from us. We want to play a good tournament. We’re thinking of this World Championship as a best-of-seven series, so we want to win four games.”

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“We are trying to reach the quarter-finals,” said Reimer, “but we’re thinking game to game. There are a couple of teams we know we have to beat and I think we can beat, and we’ll see where we’re at after.”

Today, Switzerland is one of those teams. The Germans will help their cause immensely with a win today. The last-ranked team of each group will be demoted for 2016, so two or three points today would give the Germans that much-needed cushion.

As well, it might give them momentum and get them into the playoffs. Canada, Sweden, and the Czech Republic have a pretty firm lock on the first three placings, but fourth is still up for grabs.

For Germany, it could go either way right now, but one thing is clear. Their fate is in their own hands. And given how disappointing the season has been for the country’s program, a bit of good news would not only be welcome but critical to the nation’s hockey morale.


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