rot-weiss’s Mazkour to the fore for Germans

Rot-Weiss Köln’s Elian Mazkour played a starring role as he netted twice for the German men as they won the European indoor title for the 17th time last weekend in Leuven.

A second half burst of goals saw them shake off the Poland who had to content themselves with a best finish since 2006 in Eindhoven.

In a cagey first half, Paul Doesch eventually broke through the tight-knit block from a corner in the 14th minute after two earlier efforts had ricocheted off the pads of Mateusz Popiolkowski.

Poland, though, have played throughout the tournament with a ruthless counter-attack mode and they tore back when Gracjan Jarzyński ripped a forehand shot into the roof of the net.

Elian Mazkour restored the German lead before the break, however, to give his side a significant psychological boost going into half-time.

Patryk Pawlak’s corner goal did equalise for 2-2 soon after the big break but the game was decided soon after. Mazkour got his second of the game and then Doesch fired in a penalty stroke for a 4-2 lead.

And Henrik Mertgens put the Germans further out of sight early in the fourth quarter. Poland tried as they could but were unable to breakthrough, leaving them to settle for silver for a third time at this level.

Royal Léopold also had a trio of medalists at the event with Dylan Englebert, and Nicolas Poncelet from their outdoor squad – destined for the EHL at Easter – took the bronze in a 7-5 win over reigning champions Austria.

Philippe Simar also represents Léo indoors; the captain started the tournament in red-hot fashion before injury ruled him out of the latter stages of the competition.