The coach of the German handball crew 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 tender aspect at the age of 63. At the World Championship, Alfred Gislason was utterly renewed.
As a participant and later as a coach, Alfred Gislason exemplified the sort typically referred to in handball circles as a “powerful dog”. A man who doesn’t spare himself or his opponent, and likewise guidelines his gamers with an iron fist. Former nationwide participant Stefan Kretzschmar used his “Hölleluja!” In his guide, he tells how the left winger and the profitable coach suffered a disc herniation once they had been collectively in Magdeburg at the starting of the millennium and introduced residence the championship trophy. Borde has labored hard for the Champions League trophy, which has put him by means of hell. A discovering that Gislason rapidly refuted. Despite the ache, he beneficial Kretzschmar and even changed him.
Icelanders do not tolerate such cruelty today. At the age of 63, the powerful dog has revealed his tender aspect, the look of the man who led the German nationwide crew 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 dwell on ntv.de), implausible in each means.
“Working intently with younger folks retains you in your toes”
His tenure as nationwide coach obtained 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 unimaginable 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 printed a letter by which 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 recognized 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 advised Sport Bild, taking a look at 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 mentioned on RTL: “It was shocking how rapidly it handed.”
Only a number of months later, he went to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and appeared in sixth place with the crew. “Handball was essential to me throughout this time. Especially if you work intently with younger folks, it retains you in your toes and retains you alive,” he advised the sports activities info service. “It makes life stunning when you may assist younger folks progress in sport and get on the path in life. Everything turned out otherwise than I assumed, however life goes on.”
He has gone by means of powerful instances, 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 crew,” he advised 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 an alternative smiles and solutions questions eloquently and authoritatively. That did not change after the first chapter in opposition to Norway, however the defeat was annoying as a result of it was avoidable. He “hopes to see one another once more on this match,” Gislason mentioned, smiling at fellow Norwegian Jonas Will. There can solely be a gathering in the last.
The nationwide coach referred to as the subsequent match in opposition to the title favorites from France “the most troublesome sport. “We should have an amazing 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 unsuitable. “He’s energized, however that is for positive,” 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 crew.” 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 crew’s efficiency thus far.” During the second-round sport in opposition to Argentina, when the German choice tore their opponents aside with each trick in the guide, the coach’s good announcement at halftime was: “Play what you need,” Gislason mentioned. gamers. It is an anarchist strategy that was beforehand unthinkable on this type. One, however not all, ought to hear, Gislason advised Welt: “But I forgot there was a microphone. It would not occur to me fairly often.” In that second, with this snug management behind him, it was “the greatest present of religion,” studies Woodtke. True to the motto, “You guys are in the circulation and also you play effectively, you are going to succeed anyway.”
Backcourt participant Paul Drucks additionally noticed that “Alfred is having his first main match right here as a nationwide coach, which is actually nearly handball.” There had been no video games, no chaotic days in entrance of empty locations like final 12 months’s European Championship in Bratislava, a complete of 18 corona instances in the crew 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 observe.” 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, residence 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 advised Welt am Sonntag. “The environment of the farm are stunning, everything is stunning. I can say I need.”
At the World Cup, issues are going nearly in keeping with plan thus far. Losing to Norway harm Gislson as he would have most popular to play in opposition to Spain in the quarter-finals. Whether this sport can be very easy or not is unknown. The DHB crew now has to face Olympic champion and report world champion France. Whether his new discovered sobriety will final stays to be seen. Until he mentioned, “I’m a nationwide coach, I’m very glad.”