Markus Gaugisch is not afraid of a setback for the German handball women in the double EM endurance test against France. The national coach is looking forward to the duels with the Olympic champion on Friday (9:10 p.m.) in Metz and Sunday (5:15 p.m.) in Nancy.

    “I’m not afraid of defeats. The most important thing is that we always try to implement our match plan 100 percent. If we can do that, we always have a chance of winning. If the opponent is still better, you have to accept that,” said Gaugish.

    Gaugisch: “Every coach has his own handwriting”

    The coach of the German champions SG BBM Bietigheim has also been responsible for the national team since April – and is confidently looking forward to his first major test at the European Championships from November 4th to 20th in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro. “I think I can bring the momentum from the club to the DHB selection because you can see that you can be competitive and successful on the international stage,” said Gaugisch. After all, he has been unbeaten with the European League winner for more than a year.

    His work should also quickly bear fruit in the DHB selection. “Every coach has his own signature. You should be able to see how we want to play, both in defense and in attack,” said the 48-year-old. He wants to partially build on the work of his predecessor Henk Groener. “The basis is an active defence, I want to expand and develop that further,” said Gaugisch.

    In plain language this means: putting pressure on the ball, closing spaces and forcing the opponent to make mistakes. “If we win a lot of balls and get up to speed, the basis for a sense of achievement is laid,” predicted the national coach. In attack, he initially relies on simple patterns. “We just have to play because the complex things take time. We just don’t have that,” emphasized Gaugisch almost five weeks before the European Championship opener against Poland. Other preliminary round opponents are co-hosts Montenegro and World Cup fourth-placed Spain.

    International matches as a location determination

    The international matches against the “Equipe tricolore” are therefore just right as a position determination. Since 2011, the German team has been waiting for a win against the runner-up world champion of the previous year. “France is the non-plus-ultra in women’s handball. The team is very strong individually and able to set incredible tasks. You can’t downplay your boots. Situations will arise in which there’s a lot of pressure to act weighs heavily on the players,” said Gaugisch. “It’s going to be a tough task. We have to see that we can do it collectively.”

    Co-captain Alina Grijseels is excited to see how that works. “These games will be special highlights. Competing against the Olympic champions is a great challenge for us,” said the backcourt player from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. “We’ll see how our current level of performance is and what we still need to work on in order to be optimally prepared for the top games that await us at the EURO.”