EXCLUSIVE: He has been compared to Jurgen Klopp and had one year to shape Germany ahead of the men’s World Cup. The Hockey Paper speaks to Andre Henning following a first major title in a decade
“It is a story worthy of Hollywood,” coach Andre Henning told a German interviewer in the aftermath of the men’s World Cup heroics. “The hockey world now calls us comeback kings.”
If script writers were to make a movie out of the 2023 World Cup, it would be a compelling watch. There would be a starting base in 2013 – Henning and seven players from their Bhubaneswar victory won the Junior World Cup – and ending with their star player Niklas Wellen finding out he was a dad, then lifting the sport’s showpiece trophy after three never-say-die acts of hockey greatness, as Germany went to world No 1.
There was the training camp in Sweden last year. Four or so days in canoes and camping where the squad had to fend for themselves. Henning admits to being no fan of team-bonding exercises, but with less than a year to get his team playing differently from a nation which has traditionally depended on plenty of possession, he went for the cohesive route.
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This week, The Hockey Paper will be charting the rise of Germany to world champions and world No 1 ahead of their hosting of EuroHockey 2023 this summer