Bhubaneswar, April 12 (IANS) The Germany men’s hockey team arrived here on Tuesday to face the hosts India in the FIH Hockey Pro League double-header, which takes place on April 14 and 15 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.
Upon arrival, Germany head coach Andre Henning expressed delight at the prospect of playing India.
“We are here with a young team. It is a special moment for most of the guys as they will be making their debut here in India. So, getting their first cap ever in the Hockey country and in one of the best stadiums in the world is an amazing opportunity. We are very excited to play at the Kalinga Stadium,” he said.
The World No. 6 side are currently placed second in the Pro League points table with 17 points in eight games.
Reflecting on their Pro League campaign so far, Henning said, “17 points in eight matches is extremely good, but I think we still have to improve. I am still not happy with the way we played the whole time, but I’ve seen that the team is making huge steps and amazing improvements. So, well deserved 17 points. We are in a good position now, but still, a lot to do for the upcoming games here in India.”
Speaking about the team’s preparedness for the double-header against India, the German coach said, “We have come here with a totally different team. We had to leave some of the guys home due to Euro Hockey League (EHL). To be honest, it will be tough, but we are competitive and are good enough for a surprise.”
He further added, “The goal for us is to gain experience and just grow on the big stage. It’s an amazing opportunity for the boys and we will try to make the best out of the opportunity.”
Speaking about Team India, Henning stated, “Just have the biggest respect for the way they play, the way they have improved in the last few years. They are at the top at the moment, and that’s well deserved. They showed some extremely strong performances and have improved on the pitch, which reflects in their results. I think it’s not a big surprise that they are so successful at the moment, and are of course, extremely hard to beat.”