Great Britain downed by clinical Germans

Barry Middleton Great Britain vs Germany 480 x 290

Great Britain 1 (1)
Alastair Brogdon 19 (FG)

Germany 2 (0)
Mats Grambusch 41 (PC)
Christopher Wesley 42 (FG)

In a closely fought encounter Germany triumphed as they beat Great Britain by two goals to one in front of a sell out crowd at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The hosts took the lead in the 19th minute through Wimbledon’s Alastair Brogdon, but in the third quarter two goals in the space of a minute from Mats Grambusch and Christopher Wesley were enough to see the current Olympic and European Champions home.  

With both sides comfortable in possession, the opening 15 minutes was a well balanced affair. Germany forced the first save of the night when Niklas Wellen shot on his reverse but George Pinner was on hand to make a save low to his left, in a quarter of few goal scoring chances.

The deadlock was broken in the second period when Great Britain’s Alastair Brogdon found the net. Cutting in from the left, the number 11 bulldozed his way through a crowded German circle, dodging tackles and calmly lifting the ball over Nicolas Jacobi between the posts at the second attempt.
As the World No3 side searched for an equaliser it wasn’t long before Pinner was called into action again, firstly tipping onto the post from Christopher Zeller and then pushing over the bar from a fierce Wesley strike. The Great Britain defence held firm though and went into the break with a one-goal advantage.

The home side controlled the opening stages of the third quarter, threatening from penalty corners and hassling their opponents on the ball. However, it was Germany who turned the tie on its head in the 41st minute scoring twice within 60 seconds. Firstly, Grambusch volleyed home from close range following a penalty corner before Wesley doubled their lead. The German forward pounced on a loose pass in the middle of the field and drove through the heart of the defence, lifting the ball over a helpless Pinner.

Bobby Crutchley’s men pressed for an equaliser in the final 15 minutes, substituting Pinner for an extra outfield player. Iain Lewers, bursting out from defence, found an unmarked Barry Middleton in the German circle. However, the England and Great Britain captain fired his reverse stick effort just wide of Jacobi’s far post and the Germans held on to run out 2 – 1 winners.

German Captain Tobias Hauke was pleased with Germany's performance: 
“I think that was a really tough game against GB, like always. Today we had a great atmosphere and it was good for us. It was our first time playing in this stadium and we are looking forward to coming back in August to play in the European Championships.

Great Britain goal scorer Alastair Brogdon [Wimbledon] spoke to us after the game: “In the first half we played some really good hockey. It was a tight match. We had a disappointing three or four minutes where they snatched two quick goals and that cost us the game. We’ll take some positives out of it and look at the things we can do moving forward from here. It was nice getting the first goal. It was a nice little run and finish but it was disappointing that didn’t lead to a victory for us.”

Speaking after the game on his team's performance, Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley commented: "“It was a frustrating night I think. We defended well in the first quarter and started to play some good hockey, but unfortunately we gifted them a couple of goals with two basic errors and it was always going to be difficult to come back when you’re playing against a side like Germany." He added "We only showed glimpses of what we are capable of tonight and that’s the bit which is frustrating. We could have snuck a draw near the end when we had a good chance, but it didn’t come off for us tonight.” 

Looking ahead to the match against Australia on June 13th:
“It will be another great game for us to get ourselves up to speed. These are the games that we want to play as we want to set our standards at the very best. That’s why we invite these teams here and that’s why they want to come.”

The next international clash at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre sees Great Britain women return to the scene of their bronze medal triumph on Sunday 26th April. Your next opportunity to see GB men in action is on Saturday 13th June when they take on World Champions Australia. Advanced tickets for both events are available to purchase here.