Media Release – Second-half scoring showcase lifts Germany over South Africa 

17 February 2022

Despite an outstanding first half of hockey from South Africa, Germany put on a clinical performance in the second half to propel them to a 6-1 win for their second victory in Potchestfstroom. Overcoming a 1-1 score line at half time, the game was a valuable test for the young German side, whose more experienced version lost 4-3 to South Africa in pool play at the 2020 Olympic Games. The win was further highlighted by first international caps for both German goalkeepers Niklas Garst and Anton Brinckman.

Despite the loss, South Africa put together one of their best halves of hockey to open the game. Stingy defence in the back and resilient pressure up front, the South Africans made lots of work for Germany, who were uncharacteristically turning the ball over. South Africa seemed to be doing everything right but their lack of detail in the circle haunted them.

Germany had their share of early scoring chances including Luis Gill who beat three as he sliced through the South African circle but his off-balanced shot sailed wide of the empty cage. Then, Niklas Wellen thought he had an easy tap in as a pass across the goal beat Gowan Jones but a calm and cool Connor Beauchamp was there to intercept and clear the ball through traffic.

After a scoreless opening quarter Germany came out looking to capitalize and it was Constantin Staib’s pass into the South African circle that drew the first penalty corner of the game. Tom Grambusch rippled the mesh with his flick, stick side on Estiaan Kriek for a 1-0 German lead and his third penalty corner goal in two games.

Speaking after the game captain Mats Grambusch said of his brother: ‘Tom always does a great job (with his club team). He’s been training hard recently and his corners have been very successful. I hope to see that more coming up. I’m sure he will make coach  Henning happy and also us as a team.’

Never a team to sit back when down, South Africa continued with their strong defence, denying Mats Grambusch in the 23rd minute, while in the other end Nqobile Ntuli just missed a pass at the far post to level the score. It was a sign of what was to come as captain Keenan Horne was there to volley the ball in from next to no angle in the final minute of the half.

Mats Grambusch, Player of the Match, commented about Germany’s opening half: “Our first half was not as good as we expected. Yes of course South Africa did a good job defensively and offensively but we didn’t play too well. We didn’t’ have enough ball possession. Second half got a lot better and we got into our playing style and I don’t know if had to be 6-1 but I think it was a deserved win.’

Germany coach Hennig wanted to see better technical skills and less errors after half time and his team did not disappoint. A solid variation in the 34th minute allowed Tom Grambusch to set up Mats at the far post for a penalty corner deflection and the eventual game winner. It was then that the momentum really started to favour the Germans.

Fantastic finishes from Luis Gill and Thies Prinz inside a crowded circle elevated the Germans 4-1 by the end of the third quarter. South Africa continued to pressure but what few chances they had did not prove accurate including a diving effort from Mustapha Cassiem.

Germany’s clinical passing and technical brilliance in the circle became too much and it was clear where the game was headed. Johannes Große’s pass cut the field in half only to find Wellen at the top of the circle in the 58th minute. Wellen’s size and superb first touch saw him turn and beat two only to rocket a shot into the bottom corner of the net for the 6-1 Germany lead.

Germany had two more penalty corners in the final minute of the game but Estiaan Kreak made a glove save and Owen Mvimbi’s stick on the line denied a Tom Grambusch flick.

Speaking about South Africa’s historic Olympic win over Germany, South African captain and goal scorer Keenan Horne said: ‘That win last year built the belief, but it shows you have to work through the whole 60 minutes of the game. We did that in 30 minutes of the game but that belief is just belief. You have to back it up on the field.’

More information on the game can be found on the match page.

Stay up to date on the men’s FIH Pro League Standings.

FIH Pro League games continue this weekend with a full slate of games on February 19 including France vs Germany men in Potchestfstroom, South Africa, while Argentina and England men and women will face off in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

FIH Pro League – 17 February 2022

Potchestfstroom, University of North West (RSA)

Result: Men’s Match 19
South Africa 1, Germany 6
Player of the Match: Mats Grambusch (GER)
Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Ayden Shrives (RSA), Sean Rapaport (RSA-video)

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