Düsseldorfer EG: New season - new demands

Düsseldorfer EG: New season – new demands

Düsseldorf ground floor
New season – new demands

A year ago, the Düsseldorfer EG was considered a relegation candidate, but then it went to the quarterfinals, in the summer prominent newcomers came. Before today’s start of the ice hockey season against Ingolstadt, some are looking at the top 6.

A standard ice hockey season has three phases. Preparation, main round, play-offs. What they have in common: Each always begins by declaring the previous one irrelevant. The Düsseldorfer EG is now in phase two. The German Ice Hockey League (DEL) starts this Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Magentasport) in the Dome against ERC Ingolstadt. And of course it doesn’t matter at all what’s been going on in the past few weeks: “Preparation is preparation, the results are not that important,” says manager Niki Mondt, “even if we’ve had a lot of victories, we won’t overrate it.” Defender Bernhard Eber sounds similar: “We didn’t play a single game completely. The opponents weren’t always in the best shape either, some of them were second division teams. Difficult to draw conclusions for the season.”

Of course it’s not quite that simple. Early season and summer are by no means forgotten. They are the reason why the demands around DEG have grown. It only went to the quarter-finals, then prominent newcomers like goalkeeper Henrik Haukeland and striker Philip Gogulla came along. Not to be forgotten: Talents like Alexander Blank, Josef Eham and Jakub Borzecki. And because apart from defense chief Marco Nowak, no departure really hurts, the DEG squad looks better on paper than it has in years. Isn’t there more in it than “just” the quarter-finals?

Alexander Barta is not a friend of this calculation. “I’m going a bit in the wrong direction in terms of expectations. We overperformed last year,” says the captain. In fact, DEG ended up doing better than in the budget table. Although the budget has now been raised again, the shareholders again secured the Haukeland transfer separately. But the DEG cannot compete with Mannheim, Munich, Berlin or Wolfsburg for a long time, financially it belongs in the lower midfield of the DEL.

Mondt therefore officially speaks of tenth place as a goal, which would be enough for the first play-off round. But not only among fans and sponsors do some squint at the top 6 and the quarter-finals, striker Daniel Fischbuch does the same: “If everything goes well and nothing comes up like injuries, then that’s possible.” Nobody thinks that’s megalomania industry. Which says a lot about the recent development of DEG. It was only a year ago that it was considered a relegation candidate because of its austerity measures. Which turned the club and team into a now-right mood. But the story no longer works. “Nothing is badmouthed anymore,” Mondt also knows, “you have to be more careful that reaching the top 10 is not a matter of course.” But he doesn’t want to put the brakes on. why? Haukeland and Hane are a very decent goalkeeper duo. On the defensive there are seasoned players like Ebner, Cusmiskey and Järvinen. And the recently decimated offensive around top scorer Brendan O’Donnell is looking good: Barta, Gogulla and Fischbuch as the German parade series, MacAulay, O’Donnell and Harper, the three talents Blank, Eham and Borzecki. And of course national players like Tobias Eder or Alexander Ehl, who were recently absent.

But the most exciting personality is new coach Roger Hansson. The Swede has never been in charge of a top-flight team. But because he was a great player and has been coaching (mostly young) teams for years, there are no teething problems. Nothing surprised him in the first few weeks at a new club in a new league in a new country, he says. Except the boys are further than he thought.

Managers and players return the praise, describing Hansson as communicative and polite, technically he is up to date anyway. His game idea – offensive, active, intensive running – is considered demanding. “You have to be able to play ice hockey to do it well,” says Captain Barta. That’s why defender Ebner is also sure that it “takes a while to internalize it”. Hansson knows that, “but we’re far enough along in the structure, I’m satisfied with that.” He only wishes for more time in the offensive zone: “We get in well, but then we often have sequences that are too short.” But he’s not worried. Not before Ingolstadt either: “A strong team, but possible. Everything is possible.”

Here is the photo gallery: This is the DEG squad for the 2022/23 season

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