A hard handball dog becomes smooth: the new Alfred Gislason is good for everything

The coach of the German handball workforce made a reputation for himself as a man who would not spare himself, his gamers, and, in fact, his opponent. But after a stroke of destiny, the robust dog from Iceland discovered his smooth aspect at the age of 63. At the World Championship, Alfred Gislason was utterly renewed.

As a participant and later as a coach, Alfred Gislason exemplified the sort usually referred to in handball circles as a “robust dog”. A man who doesn’t spare himself or his opponent, and likewise guidelines his gamers with an iron fist. Former nationwide participant Stefan Kretzschmar used his “Hölleluja!” In his e book, he tells how the left winger and the profitable coach suffered a disc herniation once they had been collectively in Magdeburg at the starting of the millennium and introduced house the championship trophy. Borde has labored hard for the Champions League trophy, which has put him via hell. A discovering that Gislason shortly refuted. Despite the ache, he beneficial Kretzschmar and even changed him.

Icelanders do not tolerate such cruelty lately. At the age of 63, the robust dog has revealed his smooth aspect, the look of the man who led the German nationwide workforce for three years as the nationwide coach at the World Cups in Poland and Sweden. Faces France in the quarter-finals in Gdańsk (20.30 on ZDF and dwell on ntv.de), unbelievable in each approach.

“Working intently with younger folks retains you in your toes”

His tenure as nationwide coach obtained off to a rocky begin from a sporting standpoint, with Gislason working in nearly disaster mode since taking on in 2020 and the pandemic making a steady team-building unattainable for a very long time. In personal, the Icelander has skilled extreme blows of destiny. In March, after he was cleared to compete in the Olympics, he revealed a letter during which he threatened to “go” to a right-wing farce if Gislason didn’t vacate his place as German nationwide coach. “After nearly 30 years in Germany, I used to be threatened for the first time on this nice nation,” Gislason wrote, including that the cooperation in sports activities was very sturdy.

In May 2021, his spouse Kara-Gudrun died of most cancers. They have identified one another since he was 12 years outdated and have been married for 40 years. Her first response to the medical doctors’ analysis that the chemotherapy was now not working: “I’m going to name Axel Kromer, give up work – then we’ll go to Iceland and spend the time Kara spent collectively in Iceland. “, he instructed Sport Bild, the unhappy analysis. But his spouse stopped him. “The gamers knew Kara was sick. They heard it was getting worse over time.” When he died, Gislason stated on RTL: “It was shocking how shortly it handed.”

Only a couple of months later, he went to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and appeared in sixth place with the workforce. “Handball was essential to me throughout this time. Especially while you work intently with younger folks, it retains you in your toes and retains you alive,” he instructed the sports activities info service. “It makes life lovely when you’ll be able to assist younger folks progress in sport and get on the path in life. Everything turned out in another way than I assumed, however life goes on.”

He has gone via robust occasions, prolonged his contract with DHB and located new love. Author and director Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir solely requested for an interview with him, revealing that “his father was my assistant coach on my first worldwide journey with the senior workforce,” he instructed Welt earlier this week. They met for dinner, “that is the way it began”.

The nation is nonetheless in energy

At the World Cup in Poland, media professionals are actually experiencing a totally renewed Gislason. He is now not curt and abrupt, however as an alternative smiles and solutions questions eloquently and authoritatively. That did not change after the first chapter towards Norway, however the defeat was annoying as a result of it was avoidable. He “hopes to see one another once more on this match,” Gislason stated, smiling at fellow Norwegian Jonas Will. There can solely be a gathering in the ultimate.

The nationwide coach referred to as the subsequent match towards the title favorites from France “the most troublesome recreation. “We must have a fantastic day to outlive.” But retirement alone doesn’t throw a veteran off steadiness. His gamers and people near him are unanimous in reporting how relaxed Gislason is in his mission and the way a lot it impacts everybody concerned. Erik Woodtke, who works intently with the boss on the bench as an assistant coach, feels the nationwide coach is “calm and calm”. At least when there is no recreation.

For 60 minutes, Gislason can proceed to mutate in the Icelandic volcano, which can erupt if issues go fallacious. “He’s energized, however that is for positive,” Woodtke says. The remainder of the time, his ease “would not play.” He is glad to see the gamers succeed.” The sovereignty of outdated age is “manifested by nice self-confidence. And this, in flip, impacts the workforce.” Goalkeeper Andreas Wolff added, “Alfred can provide us some composure along with his nice expertise.”

“Play What You Want”

That mutual give and take, based on Woodtke, is “the key to the workforce’s efficiency thus far.” During the second-round recreation towards Argentina, when the German choice tore their opponents aside with each trick in the e book, the coach’s sensible announcement at halftime was: “Play what you need,” Gislason stated. gamers. It is an anarchist method that was beforehand unthinkable on this type. One, however not all, ought to hear, Gislason instructed Welt: “But I forgot there was a microphone. It would not occur to me fairly often.” In that second, with this snug management behind him, it was “the greatest present of religion,” reviews Woodtke. True to the motto, “You guys are in the circulate and also you play nicely, you are going to succeed anyway.”

Backcourt participant Paul Drucks additionally noticed that “Alfred is having his first main match right here as a nationwide coach, which is actually nearly handball.” There had been no video games, no chaotic days in entrance of empty locations like final yr’s European Championship in Bratislava, a complete of 18 corona instances in the workforce overthrew all plans – solely protection, assault, counterattack and second wave. “It’s good for all of us,” says Fuchsen, a Berlin professional and supervisor, who factors to the ease of being “in each follow.” In the fall of an extended and extremely profitable teaching profession, Gislason famous that “he prefers to show issues off and luxuriate in himself.”

“A very, very glad nationwide coach”

The coach’s powerhouse is simply outdoors Magdeburg: Wendgräben, house to only 32 folks. Here, greater than 20 years in the past, Gislason and his spouse Kara-Gudrun purchased a derelict farm with timber rising on the roof. Today, the English country-style residence is an actual gem, in addition to a biotope from which Gislason retreats to recharge his battery: “Here, I’ve the peace of Iceland,” he instructed Welt am Sonntag. “The environment of the farm are lovely, everything is lovely. I can say I would like.”

At the World Cup, issues are going nearly based on plan thus far. Losing to Norway harm Gislson as he would have most popular to play towards Spain in the quarter-finals. Whether this recreation can be very easy or not is unknown. The DHB workforce now has to face Olympic champion and document world champion France. Whether his new discovered sobriety will final stays to be seen. Until he stated, “I’m a nationwide coach, I’m very glad.”


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