The Indian men’s hockey team will take on team Germany in a two-legged tie in the FIH Pro League 2021/22 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar this week. The Germany Men’s Hockey Team arrived on Tuesday.
The FIH Pro League matches between the two teams, which were earlier postponed owing to the spike in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in team Germany, will now take place on April 14 and 15, respectively. The Indian men’s team is currently placed first in the FIH Pro points table with 21 points from 10 matches, while the Germans are just behind them with 17 points from eight matches.
Upon his arrival, the German Men’s Team Head Coach André Henning expressed delight at the prospect of playing India at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.
“We are here with a young team. It is a special moment for most of the guys as they will be making their debuts here in India. So, getting their first cap ever in the Hockey country and in one of the best stadiums in the world, is an amazing opportunity. We are very excited to play at the Kalinga Stadium,” he said.
The World No. 6 side are currently placed second in the Pro League points table. Reflecting on their Pro League campaign so far, Henning said,
“17 points in eight matches is extremely good, but I think we still have to improve. I am still not happy with the way we played the whole time, but I’ve seen that the team is making huge steps and amazing improvements. So, well deserved 17 points. We are in a good position now, but still, a lot to do for the upcoming games here in India.”
Speaking about the team’s preparedness for the double-header against India, the German Coach said,
“We have come here with a totally different team. We had to leave some of the guys home due to Euro Hockey League (EHL). To be honest, it will be tough, but we are competitive and are good enough for a surprise.”
He further added,
“The goal for us is to gain experience and just grow on the big stage. It’s an amazing opportunity for the boys and we will try to make the best out of the opportunity.”
Speaking about Team India, Henning stated
“Just have the biggest respect for the way they play, the way they have improved in the last few years. They are at the top at the moment, and that’s well deserved. They showed some extremely strong performances and have improved on the pitch, which reflects on their results. I think it’s not a big surprise that they are so successful at the moment, and are of course, extremely hard to beat.”
Hockey India (HI) named the 22-member Indian men’s hockey squad ahead of the German challenge, which will be led by skipper Amit Rohidas. Harmanpreet Singh will serve as the vice-captain. Speaking about the team selection, India’s chief coach Graham Reid said:
“This year’s FIH Pro League has provided us with great opportunities to try different combinations and tactics. We have recognised what works and, more importantly, what areas we need to improve on. This week against Germany is the last leg of our home games for this year and we are looking forward to two more world-class encounters once again. Germany are always an extremely tough opponent and given where we both are on the ladder it will be important for us to finish this week with as many points as possible to remain at the top of the points table.”
India vs Germany FIH Pro League matches will take place on April 14 and 15, 2022 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Match 1: India vs Germany
Date: April 14, 2022; Timings: 07:30 pm IST
Match 2: India vs Germany
Date: April 15, 2022; Timings: 05:00 pm IST