A tough handball dog goes comfortable: a national coach and his remarkable transformation

The coach of the German handball workforce made a title for himself as a man who would not spare himself, his gamers, and, in fact, his opponent. But after a stroke of destiny, the tough dog from Iceland discovered his comfortable facet on the age of 63.

As a participant and later as a coach, Alfred Gislason exemplified the sort usually referred to in handball circles as a “tough dog”. A man who doesn’t spare himself or his opponent, and additionally guidelines his gamers with an iron fist. Former national participant Stefan Kretzschmar used his “Hölleluja!” In his guide, he tells how the left winger and the profitable coach suffered a disc herniation after they have been collectively in Magdeburg at first of the millennium and introduced residence the championship trophy. Borde has labored exhausting for the Champions League trophy, which has put him by way of hell. A discovering that Gislason rapidly refuted. Despite the ache, he really helpful Kretzschmar and even changed him.

Icelanders do not tolerate such cruelty lately. At the age of 63, the tough dog has revealed his comfortable facet, the look of the person who led the German national workforce for 3 years because the national coach on the World Cups in Poland and Sweden. Faces France within the quarter-finals in Gdańsk (20.30 on ZDF and reside on ntv.de), unbelievable in each approach.

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

His tenure as national coach received off to a rocky begin from a sporting standpoint, with Gislason working in nearly disaster mode since taking up in 2020 and the pandemic making a steady team-building not possible for a very long time. In non-public, the Icelander has skilled extreme blows of destiny. In March, after he was cleared to compete within the Olympics, he revealed a letter through which he threatened to “go” to a right-wing farce if Gislason didn’t vacate his place as German national coach. “After nearly 30 years in Germany, I used to be threatened for the primary 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 recognized one another since he was 12 years previous and have been married for 40 years. Her first response to the docs’ analysis that the chemotherapy was now not working: “I’m going to name Axel Kromer, stop work – then we’ll go to Iceland and spend the time Kara spent collectively in Iceland. “, he informed Sport Bild, wanting on 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 rapidly it handed.”

Only a few 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 individuals, it retains you in your toes and retains you alive,” he informed the sports activities info service. “It makes life stunning when you’ll be able to assist younger individuals progress in sport and get on the trail in life. Everything turned out in another way than I assumed, however life goes on.”

He has gone by way of tough instances, prolonged his contract with DHB and discovered 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 informed Welt earlier this week. They met for dinner, “that is the way it began”.

The nation continues to be in energy

At the World Cup in Poland, media professionals are actually experiencing a fully renewed Gislason. He is now not curt and abrupt, however as a substitute smiles and solutions questions eloquently and authoritatively. That did not change after the primary 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 assembly within the ultimate.

The national coach known as the following match towards the title favorites from France “probably the most tough sport. “We must have a nice day to outlive.” But retirement alone doesn’t throw a veteran off stability. His gamers and these near him are unanimous in reporting how relaxed Gislason is in his mission and how a lot it impacts everybody concerned. Erik Woodtke, who works intently with the boss on the bench as an assistant coach, feels the national coach is “calm and calm”. At least when there isn’t a sport.

For 60 minutes, Gislason can proceed to mutate within 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 pleased to see the gamers succeed.” The sovereignty of previous age is “manifested by nice self-confidence. And this, in flip, impacts the workforce.” Goalkeeper Andreas Wolff added, “Alfred may give us some composure with his nice expertise.”

“Play What You Want”

That mutual give and take, in line with Woodtke, is “the important thing to the workforce’s efficiency up to now.” During the second-round sport towards Argentina, when the German choice tore their opponents aside with each trick within the guide, the coach’s sensible announcement at halftime was: “Play what you need,” Gislason stated. gamers. It is an anarchist strategy that was beforehand unthinkable on this type. One, however not all, ought to hear, Gislason informed Welt: “But I forgot there was a microphone. It would not occur to me fairly often.” In that second, with this comfy management behind him, it was “the most important present of religion,” experiences Woodtke. True to the motto, “You guys are within the stream and you play properly, you are going to succeed anyway.”

Backcourt participant Paul Drucks additionally noticed that “Alfred is having his first main match right here as a national coach, which is actually nearly handball.” There have been no video games, no chaotic days in entrance of empty locations like final 12 months’s European Championship in Bratislava, a whole of 18 corona circumstances within 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 benefit of being “in each follow.” In the autumn of a lengthy and extremely profitable teaching profession, Gislason famous that “he prefers to show issues off and take pleasure in himself.”

“A very, very pleased national coach”

The coach’s powerhouse is simply exterior Magdeburg: Wendgräben, residence to simply 32 individuals. 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 a actual gem, in addition to a biotope from which Gislason retreats to recharge his battery: “Here, I’ve the peace of Iceland,” he informed Welt am Sonntag. “The environment of the farm are stunning, every part is gorgeous. I can say I need.”

At the World Cup, issues are going nearly in line with plan to date. Losing to Norway damage Gislson as he would have most well-liked to play towards Spain within the quarter-finals. Whether this sport can be very easy or not is unknown. The DHB workforce now has to face Olympic champion and file world champion France. Whether his new discovered sobriety will final stays to be seen. Until he stated, “I’m a national coach, I’m very pleased.”


Leave a Comment