News : Handball player Patrick Wiencek: To care for the national team – sport
Patrick Wiencek now has it official: He belongs to the council of elders of the German handball players. On the childish nickname Bamm-Bamm (like the little muscle man from the TV series The Flintstones) The defense specialist still hears, but with 150 international matches, a certain maturity cannot be ignored. Wiencek is currently at 149, if he enters the floor on Thursday in the European Championship qualifier in Bosnia-Herzegovina (4.10 p.m., ARD), he has reached 150. “I’m surprised that there are already so many,” says the man from Kiel. He doesn’t feel that old yet – he almost sounded a bit offended.
Wiencek, 32 years old, could have delayed the anniversary game a bit, but he could have skipped the last two international games before the Olympic Games in Tokyo. First, the games in Bosnia and on Sunday against Estonia are no longer explosive – the team of the German Handball Federation (DHB) has long since qualified for the 2022 European Championship in Hungary and Slovakia. Wiencek could have taken a break in this exhausting Corona season, as his teammate Hendrik Pekeler does: He is taking a break to heal an ankle injury. The two players of the Champions League winner THW Kiel don’t have to worry about their Olympic nomination: national coach Alfred Gislason hardly goes to Tokyo without Wiencek and Pekeler. You are set if you stay fit.
In Kiel, Wiencek plowed through – 60 minutes, attack and defense
But Wiencek doesn’t want to take a break. He is ready, he wants to play, as always in the past few months. Since his personal cancellation of the World Cup in Egypt (he didn’t want to jet through the world during the pandemic), the circular runner has been on the record at a constant rhythm: a game every two to three days. Bundesliga, Champions League, Bundesliga, always back and forth. There is a catch-up game, there an additional date squeezed in. Always on. Wiencek has developed into a frequent player; since his defense colleague Pekeler dragged this wound around with him, he has been plowing through the club. 60 minutes, attack and defense. Recently, Pekeler limped into the field from time to time to allow Wiencek at least a few minutes to catch his breath.
This is not an exclusive problem for the people of Kiel. In Flensburg, with the championship leader, Johannes Golla has a very similar experience. Many players are injured, so we play through. The last time he hurt his foot, he sat on the bench for a few minutes. Then Golla stomped on the field again.
Life in the club is much more stressful than with the national team, says Wiencek
And now the national team is calling. The trip to Bosnia will be particularly draining, the German handball players fly there and back in one day to minimize the risk of infection. But Wiencek laughs, he enjoys the time with the DHB team, life in the club is much more stressful, he says. Four days of preparation for a game in which he probably doesn’t even have to play, when was the last time he did that? “I can be looked after quite well with the national team,” says Wiencek. It does him good to escape the routine at the club for a few days: “You always play with the same people. It’s nice to see someone else.” So it’s better to form the middle block with Golla or the Erlangen Sebastian Firnhaber instead of always having the Pekeler at your side.
National coach Gislason also knows what insane workload Wiencek is currently unwinding – and is grateful that the circle runner nevertheless agrees to fine-tune the processes for the Olympics. In the two international matches, Gislason is not only concerned with identifying 17 players that he can take with him to Tokyo – 14 will move permanently to the Olympic village, three are waiting outside as replacements. If Germany actually wants to fight for the medals, it will not do so without a tough, well-rehearsed defense in which Wiencek plays a central role. However, Gislason does not want to overwhelm his key player, Wiencek had “played a lot” recently, which Gislason followed with concern and promised: “He will get his breaks.”
Because one thing shouldn’t happen again: That Wiencek copes with all the exams that are imposed on him, but at the climax he dies. It was like this before the important Olympic qualification tournament in Berlin in March, when Wiencek arrived, but seemed pumped out after grueling weeks in Kiel. So Gislason set up others. Before the team meets to prepare for the Olympics in July, Wiencek is hoping that he will get another week off. That will hardly be enough for a real vacation, but Wiencek has become frugal in all the stress. His only wish is: “Don’t think about handball for a week.”