Germany will enter their 14th successive EuroHockey men’s semi-final since 1991 with a tub-thumping pre-match speech, if their viral team huddle is anything to go by ahead of their Netherlands clash in front of a packed Sparkassen Park on Monday.
Before their 3-0 victory, Rot-Weiss-Köln’s Timur Oruz rounded up his troops and shouted to fight for each other “even if they might be behind or have pain in their legs”.
Oruz, who is type 1 diabetic, continued in a video which went viral in Germany: “More, more, more and more. And then that makes it so fun. And then we’re really in the tournament. And then things really get going for us. Let’s go, men.”
Following confirmation of their passage to the semi-finals, with a tightly-contested win over France, he then added of Friday’s opponents: “At the end of the day, we’re the better team, the tight-knit squad that will stand up to England. The mood here will carry us. We’re keen to beat the English and make it to the final.”
“Boy, at such a motivational speech, I think I would also give everything. Strong words,” was one such comment on social media.
“About to take my hockey stick and play along… I don’t even play hockey,” said another.
German coach André Henning revealed to Rheinische Post that Oruz was the perfect choice for the pre-match energy.
“He has an irrepressible will – the bigger the hurdle, the more he wants to go over it, with all his energy, stubbornly,” he said.
“Maybe it has something to do with his history when he was told that competitive sport is hardly possible with diabetes.”
Recalling the dramatic last eight win over England in the World Cup, Henning added: “England hurt us a lot at the World Cup, we didn’t find the right approach.”
The viral clip of Oruz sparked memories of he famous changing room speech given by Christoph Bechmann in the 2014 Euro Hockey League.
At the time his side trailed RC Bruxelles 2-0 in the semi-final.
Harvestehuder surged back to win 3-2. They then went on to defeat hosts Oranje Zwart in the final on a shootout, after a 2-2 game.
“When Christoph gets going he’s a bit too fast for me,” Harvestehuder’s Richie Dawson-Smith said at the time. “I couldn’t translate it word-for-word but you just get inspired. We just needed to play our game, create chances, get corners and make opportunities for ourselves.”
Germany women fall short
The 18-year-old phenomenon Emily White’s second minute goal saw Belgium advance to the women’s EuroHockey final for just the second time.
It was all that stood between them and Germany on a night of high emotion at the SparkassenPark with the hosts doing everything but draw level in an intense and riveting contest.
Alix Gerniers created the goal with an incredible pass through the middle up to White who drove to the left and chipped a reverse-stick shot over Julia Sonntag.
They had the best of the first quarter but Germany somehow just missed out on an equaliser when the ball managed to wriggle off Charlotte Stapenhorst’s stick with the goal beckoning.
The Red Panthers sat in wait in deep defence and their counters were dangerous, limiting chances and working strong overloads.
As time wore on, Germany started to produce more and more chances of their own. The pick of them was forged by Stapenhorst whose powerful run ended with a wicked backhand shot which clattered the inside of the post but stayed out of the goal.
Belgium held on for a famous win and a shot at a first title when they meet the Netherlands on Saturday.
Reflecting on the win, White said: “It’s amazing, a great team performance as well. It helps we scored in the second minute so the rest of the game was a little bit more relaxed. We had some good actions and so maybe put a few more away in the first quarter but generally very happy.