A new year just began for the German NT.
When I remember one year ago, i was really uncertain about 2013 season. So many players stopped playing NT, refused playing or were not in great shape (Grozer). In the end, the team played a very decent World League, a good ech, including matches (Russia, 2x Bulgaria), which i will remember for a long time.
The qualification tournament for wch has been played in big style as well. Ok, the oponents were not too strong but there hasn't been a single moment of danger in all three matches. The team played relaxed and apparantly with a lot of fun.
Biggest surprise for me is our new OH duo Kaliberda/Fromm. They are both in such a great shape . Their moves to Seria A in the summer really did them well. Especially Kaliberda made a huge step forward. Hitting percentages between 50 and 70 % have become daily business for him. If you have in mind, that there ist still Grozer/Schoeps as opposites...... Wow
For World League and Wch the team will, more or less, consist of same players as in 2013. I really hope for a return of Max Günthör and I don't think Robert Kromm will return. Something must have happened between him and Heynen. The second setter is still in question as well. I was surprised, when Sebastian Kühner was chosen over Patrick Steuerwald, who is a regular starter in Seria A. I guess, Mark Lebedew , who is assisting Heynen, had to say a word in this.
Overall i am really optimistic about this years campaigns. The future looks bright, as all the key players are still around for a while, at least until Rio 2016.
Vital Heynen seems to be the right coach for this team as well. Obviously he has very good connection to the team and knows what he wants. We will see what happens when oponents and matches get harder, but for the moment i am in very good mood concerning this team.