Rot-Weiss defeated by Mannheim on Bundesliga return

German champions Rot-Weiss Köln suffered just their second loss of the season on Saturday in the first men’s Bundesliga game of 2024.

They went down 2-1 to Mannheimer HC in a repeat of last year’s championship final despite a second minute opening goal for Rot-Weiss.

Mats Grambusch set up Michel Struthoff who was fouled by Adrian Rafi, leading to a stroke which Struthoff converted.

It was to be the Cologne club’s only attempt on goal for a long time as MHC subsequently exerted a level of control on the game.

This was also thanks to Linus Müller, who returned to central defense after a long period of injury. For Rot-Weiss, they were without the injured Elian Mazkour and Christopher Rühr which dented their attacking options.

It remained 1-0 into half-time. After the break, MHC did find the equaliser, Mario Schachner pushed a shot on goal that confused the home defence, making it 1-1.

And things got even worse for Rot-Weiss: Teo Hinrichs quickly fired home a backhand shot from Justus Weigand’s pass – 1-2 in the 45th minute.

Rot-Weiss’s hopes of forcing their way back into the contest, meanwhile, were weakened by their own indiscipline.

In the final quarter, four international players – Johannes Große, Mats Grambusch, Michel Struthoff and Jean Danneberg – went to the penalty box after receiving yellow cards as they went down to eight players for a brief spell.

They do remain top of Pool A on goal difference but the defeat means they did not take full advantage of their game in hand.

Rot-Weiss will conclude their pre-EHL fixtures next week with a trip to Hamburg where they will face Harvestehuder THC.