The hosts will take on Germany in two back to back games.
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will look to consolidate their lead at the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 points table when they take on Germany in the two-legged contest on April 14 and 15 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
The Indian hockey team are currently placed on top of the FIH Pro League table with 21 points in 10 matches. They come into the double-header with 3-3 (3-2 SO) and 4-3 wins against England. Speaking at the pre-match Virtual Press Conference Indian Men’s Team Captain Amit Rohidas stated that the team will look to maintain its position at the top.
“We played exceptionally well against England and managed to win both the games. It’s a very good feeling to lead the league table. It’s a team effort and we will look to maintain our position at the top,” Amit said.
Speaking about the preparedness for the two-legged contest against Germany, the Indian captain said, “We have done our homework through the video analysis and worked on the areas we needed to improve upon. From practicing PCs to ball position, we have worked on everything.
Meanwhile, vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh, who achieved the 100-goal milestone during India’s previous FIH Hockey Pro League match against England, said, “It’s more of a team achievement for me. I am just happy that I was able to contribute to the team’s victory. I am also happy with our performances and we are always looking for creating more and more chances whenever possible.”
When asked if India will have an advantage over the young German squad, Harmanpreet said, “We don’t think about who our opponent is, whether it’s a young team or an experienced one, we just want to do well as a team and improve our performance with every game. Also, we should be wary of the young team as they will give their 100% to win the game and prove themselves.”
On the other hand, the World No. 6 Germany are placed second in the Pro League points table with 17 points in eight games. Speaking on the eve of the first match against the home side, Germany Men’s Team Head Coach André Henning said, “I think we have about 12 players who will be playing their first matches here for Germany, so there’s huge excitement at the moment.
It’s the most exciting stage for everyone and playing India is always something special for us and we are looking forward to that.” He further added, “We have some young guys playing U-18, and U-19 and a lot of these guys have played Junior World Cup here some months ago, so, the challenge at the moment is to get everyone together.
We have two training sessions and some meetings to start off. I have a feeling that guys are excited and kind of confident as well. They know they have that quality, of course, it’s not at the highest level at the moment, but I think that is part of the process. We are looking forward to seeing how we develop, especially during the matches.”
The German hockey captain Martin Zwicker, who has played as many as 265 international matches for his team, spoke about his role. “I think it’s more like the same thing on and off the field. It’s about how you treat the young players, how you talk to them. The most important thing is we need to talk about everything, especially on the field. We need to look at what’s going on and how we can progress as a team and then I will see what can I do for the young players,” Zwicker said.
India will face off against Germany on 14th April at 1930 hrs IST and 15th April at 1700 hrs IST at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The matches will be live on Star Sports First and Disney+Hotstar.