The coach of the German handball staff made a reputation for himself as a man who would not spare himself, his gamers, and, after all, his opponent. But after a stroke of destiny, the powerful dog from Iceland discovered his gentle aspect at the age of 63. At the World Championship, Alfred Gislason was fully renewed.
As a participant and later as a coach, Alfred Gislason exemplified the kind typically referred to in handball circles as a “powerful dog”. A man who doesn’t spare himself or his opponent, and in addition guidelines his gamers with an iron fist. Former nationwide participant Stefan Kretzschmar used his “Hölleluja!” In his e book, he tells how the left winger and the profitable coach suffered a disc herniation once they have been collectively in Magdeburg at the starting of the millennium and introduced dwelling the championship trophy. Borde has labored hard for the Champions League trophy, which has put him by hell. A discovering that Gislason shortly refuted. Despite the ache, he really helpful Kretzschmar and even changed him.
Icelanders do not tolerate such cruelty nowadays. At the age of 63, the powerful dog has revealed his gentle aspect, the look of the man who led the German nationwide staff for three years as the nationwide coach at the World Cups in Poland and Sweden. Faces France in the quarter-finals in Gdańsk (20.30 on ZDF and stay on ntv.de), implausible in each manner.
“Working intently with younger folks retains you in your toes”
His tenure as nationwide 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 unattainable for a very long time. In personal, the Icelander has skilled extreme blows of destiny. In March, after he was cleared to compete in the Olympics, he revealed a letter wherein he threatened to “go” to a right-wing farce if Gislason didn’t vacate his place as German nationwide coach. “After nearly 30 years in Germany, I used to be threatened for the first 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 identified one another since he was 12 years previous and have been married for 40 years. Her first response to the medical doctors’ prognosis that the chemotherapy was now not working: “I’m going to name Axel Kromer, give up work – then we’ll go to Iceland and spend the time Kara spent collectively in Iceland. “, he informed Sport Bild, the unhappy prognosis. 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 shortly it handed.”
Only just a few months later, he went to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and appeared in sixth place with the staff. “Handball was crucial to me throughout this time. Especially if you work intently with younger folks, it retains you in your toes and retains you alive,” he informed the sports activities data service. “It makes life stunning when you’ll be able to assist younger folks progress in sport and get on the path in life. Everything turned out in a different way than I assumed, however life goes on.”
He has gone by powerful occasions, prolonged his contract with DHB and located 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 staff,” he informed Welt earlier this week. They met for dinner, “that is the way it began”.
The nation is nonetheless in energy
At the World Cup in Poland, media professionals are actually experiencing a totally 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 first 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 event,” Gislason stated, smiling at fellow Norwegian Jonas Will. There can solely be a gathering in the ultimate.
The nationwide coach referred to as the subsequent match towards the title favorites from France “the most tough sport. “We need to have an awesome day to outlive.” But retirement alone doesn’t throw a veteran off stability. His gamers and people near him are unanimous in reporting how relaxed Gislason is in his mission and the way a lot it impacts everybody concerned. Erik Woodtke, who works intently with the boss on the bench as an assistant coach, feels the nationwide coach is “calm and calm”. At least when there is no sport.
For 60 minutes, Gislason can proceed to mutate in the Icelandic volcano, which can erupt if issues go fallacious. “He’s energized, however that is for certain,” Woodtke says. The remainder of the time, his ease “would not play.” He is glad to see the gamers succeed.” The sovereignty of previous age is “manifested by nice self-confidence. And this, in flip, impacts the staff.” Goalkeeper Andreas Wolff added, “Alfred can provide us some composure together with his nice expertise.”
“Play What You Want”
That mutual give and take, in keeping with Woodtke, is “the key to the staff’s efficiency up to now.” During the second-round sport towards Argentina, when the German choice tore their opponents aside with each trick in the e book, the coach’s good announcement at halftime was: “Play what you need,” Gislason stated. gamers. It is an anarchist strategy that was beforehand unthinkable on this kind. 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 largest present of religion,” reviews Woodtke. True to the motto, “You guys are in the stream and also you play effectively, you are going to succeed anyway.”
Backcourt participant Paul Drucks additionally noticed that “Alfred is having his first main event right here as a nationwide coach, which is actually nearly handball.” There have been no video games, no chaotic days in entrance of empty locations like final yr’s European Championship in Bratislava, a complete of 18 corona instances in the staff 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 ease of being “in each apply.” In the fall of an extended and extremely profitable teaching profession, Gislason famous that “he prefers to show issues off and luxuriate in himself.”
“A very, very glad nationwide coach”
The coach’s powerhouse is simply outdoors Magdeburg: Wendgräben, dwelling to simply 32 folks. Here, greater than 20 years in the past, Gislason and his spouse Kara-Gudrun purchased a derelict farm with bushes rising on the roof. Today, the English country-style residence is an 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, everything is stunning. I can say I would like.”
At the World Cup, issues are going nearly in keeping with plan to this point. Losing to Norway damage Gislson as he would have most well-liked to play towards Spain in the quarter-finals. Whether this sport will probably be very easy or not is unknown. The DHB staff 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 nationwide coach, I’m very glad.”