The first Ice Hockey World Championship final with German participation in 93 years is perfect, and the first German World Championship medal in 70 years is certain. The selection of national coach Harold Kreis defeated the USA 4:3 (2:2, 0:1, 1:0) after extra time in the semifinals in Tampere, Finland, and now even has its first world title in mind. This would be the greatest German ice hockey success ever for the 2018 Olympic silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist in 1976.
On Sunday (7.20 p.m./Sport1 and MagentaSport) Germany will meet Canada in the final as it did in 1930 at the very first World Cup. The record world champion had previously won the first semi-final 4-2 against Latvia.
In the second World Cup semi-final for Germany in three years, Frederik Tiffels scored the decisive goal in overtime on Saturday. In regular time, Tiffels (13th minute), Maksymilian Szuber (17th) and Marcel Noebels (59th) scored the goals for the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation.
After the coup at Sport1, Tiffels spoke of the most important goal of his career and was already looking forward to the grand finale: “Everything is possible from now on. We got something rolling. Why shouldn’t we end this tomorrow?” And Moritz Seider added: “One game, anything can happen. We’ve shown in the past that we can beat Canada. It’s going to be a cool game for everyone.”
As in the 3-1 quarter-final win against Switzerland on Thursday, the team showed great will and a lot of passion and managed to win their first win against the US team in their third game in three weeks. Germany had lost the last World Cup test on May 9 (3:6) and the preliminary round match on May 15 (2:3).
Germany worked their way back into the game after a poor start on Saturday. After just 71 seconds, NHL striker Alex Tuch from the Buffalo Sabers took the lead, which AHL professional Rocco Grimaldi (4th) increased shortly afterwards with a millimeter-precise slap shot into the top corner.
But once again in this tournament, Germany showed character after the referees punished a nasty knee check by Patrick Brown against the outstanding German World Cup player Nico Sturm with a two-minute penalty instead of a five-minute one. But they used the German goal to score a majority goal from Munich’s Tiffels.
Germany was now in the game, stood up and worked hard. NHL attacker Sturm from the San Jose Sharks equalized before the first third break with a courageous follow-up and great preparation for Szuber’s first World Cup goal.
And once again Germany had to come back after a difficult middle section in which the USA defended well and Germany acted too awkwardly in the build-up play. When Tampa Bay Lightning’s Michael Eyssimont (29th) fell behind again, the defense was too lax and allowed the NHL pro to score the third goal for the USA after poking around. The final third was tough for a long time against the strong defending young US squad before Berlin’s Noebels scored the deserved equalizer shortly before the end. In the extra time, Tiffels caused a sensation with a wonderful solo.
Hardly anyone had believed the German team capable of anything before the World Cup. Coach Harold Kreis had received 15 cancellations due to injury from top performers. In addition, three of the best German NHL players are absent from the World Cup in Finland and Latvia: Leon Draisaitl, Tim Stützle and goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer. Nevertheless, Kreis managed to form a combative and playfully convincing unit.
“The team is incredible. How the troops grew together, what a unit it is,” said Kreis. Against his native Canada, his heart would only beat for Germany: “I’ve been away for so long, I feel 100 percent German.”
Should the sensation succeed on Sunday, the greatest German success would be perfect. Germany also won bronze at the 1934 World Cup and even became vice world champion in 1930 and 1953. Back then, however, the World Cup tournaments were not as busy as they are today. In 1953, for example, only four nations had participated in a group stage without knockout games. Germany won Olympic medals in 1976 (bronze) and 2018 (silver).