Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Men’s Pool B: Ireland 0 Germany 5 (N Wellen, T Grambusch, M Hellwig, F Fuchs, L Windfeder)
Germany copper-fastened a guaranteed semi-final place as they saw off Ireland as two early goals meant they were always in control of this Pool B tie.
Niklas Wellen and Tom Grambusch put them 2-0 up inside eight minutes to put them in pole position. They then had to wait until the final six minutes to add three more via Malte Hellwig, Florian Fuchs and Lukas Windfeder, punishing Ireland as they took off their goalkeeper for an extra outfielder.
Ireland did win the first corner inside two minutes but a strong save from Victor Aly repelled the chance and Germany were soon in the ascendancy.
Timur Oruz’s driving runs were a feature and he slipped a ball into Niklas Wellen, peeling away from goal before unleashing an accurate reverse-stick shot past Mark Ingram.
The Irish goalkeeper was impressive in the first half with a series of good blocks but he was powerless to deny Tom Grambusch from a corner spin move; 2-0 with eight minutes gone.
Germany were rampant at this stage with Ingram sliding out to deny Oruz and then somehow diving at the feet of Florian Fuchs to keep out a third.
Paul Gleghorne got in a top touch just before Christopher Ruhr was about to score and the half ended with Ingram kicking away a Lukas Windfeder drag-flick.
The second half saw Germany squeeze the life out of the game, largely controlling the ball as Ireland were penned back in their own half with only fleeting attacks.
After a number of video reviews, the Irish kept out a series of penalty corners while Jamie Carr – who entered the game at half-time – made some super stops as well.
Ireland came to life in the last ten minutes with some forceful attacks via Shane O’Donoghue. Germany stood firm, however, and Malte Hellwig walked in their third goal with six minutes to go once Carr had been replaced by an extra outfielder.
Florian Fuchs rolled in the next goal before Lukas Windfeder netted from a final minute penalty corner.
“The match had different phases,” said German coach Stefan Kermas. “A very dominant first phase in which we took an early 2-0 lead.
“Then, in the second quarter, a phase in which we did not play as consistently as I would have liked but we had a very good Victor Aly between the posts to parries their corners.
“Then there was an incredibly dominant third quarter where we couldn’t kill off the game. It does not bother me too much that we only did that in the final phase when the Irish play had eleven field players.”
From the Irish side, Conor Harte said: “We really have to learn our lessons and learn them pretty fast. We can’t concede so early and we need to throw the first punch to be on the front foot or you’re chasing. With the ball, we played ok. It wasn’t really a 5-0 game – they had corners, we had corners.
Facing into a relegation pool, he added: “We’ve been here before. We have to use the experience in our group; it’s all about the next game and learning what we can from what was good today – because it was good. They didn’t know what to do with some of our build-up, especially with their zone defence. There are positives to take.”
Umpires: C van Bunge (NED), P Vazquez (ESP)
Ireland – Germany
3’ Niklas Wellen (FG) 0-1
8’ Tom Grambusch (PC) 0-2
54’ Malte Hellwig (FG) 0-3
59’ Florian Fuchs (FG) 0-4
60’ Lukas Windfeder (PC) 0-5