German semi-finals take shape after quarter-final thrillers

Mannheimer HC and Rot-Weiss Köln both were taken to a third leg decider but ultimately emerged from the quarter-finals to take their place in the German women’s final four.

For Mannheim, a shoot-out loss to Uhlenhorst Mülheim on Saturday sent their series to a Sunday decider but they were not about to let slip again.

Verena Neumann’s first half goal had them in food shape and second half efforts from Isabella Schmidt, Lucina van der Heyde and Stine Kurz won the day 4-0.

Mannheim coach Niklas Benecke said his side “were more aggressive and had an absolutle will. The girls did much better than they day before and we are looking forward to the final four.”

There, they will meet Rot-Weiss who won twice away from home at UHC Hamburg over the weekend to reach the semi-finals. Saturday’s levelling game was a shoot-out success and they won on Sunday thanks to a 3-2 result.

They trailed 2-1 after 27 minutes but Emma Boermans ensured it was level at half-time and Rebecca Grote’s penalty stroke in the 52nd minute was the weekend’s defining moment.

For their coach Markus Lonnes, he said: “That was a great series and was a lot of fun but an unhappy end for UHC of course. Both teams deserved a finals place. There is no longer any major tweaking to our squad, it is more about recovering and preparing for the semi-finals now.”

The other side of the draw, meanwhile, will see old rivals Düsseldorfer HC meet Club an der Alster. Both finished off their quarter-finals in two legs, beating Harvestehuder THC and Berliner HC on Saturday, respectively.

In the men’s competition, the semi-finalists largely went to the form book. Mannheim eliminated Harvestehuder THC with a 4-2 win; Uhlenhorst Mülheim recorded a 6-4 success against Polo Club and Rot-Weiss Köln were 4-1 victors over Alster having all won their first legs a week earlier.

Berliner HC were the one surprise package as they backed up last week’s first leg win over UHC Hamburg with a shoot-out victory in game two after normal time ended 1-1.

The semi-finals on Saturday pit Rot-Weiss Köln against Berlin and Mülheim face Mannheim.