In the latest of a series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Austria (FIH World Ranking: 20) attacker and 2018 Indoor World Cup winner Benjamin Stanzl looks ahead to his team’s crucial two-game clash against neighbours and four times Olympic gold medallists Germany (WR:6). The all-important matches will take place in Germany at Mönchengladbach’s Hockeypark on 2/3 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming days. A transcription of the interview can be found below.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How will your team prepare for these hugely important matches?
Benjamin Stanzl: “The main preparation for this event started already in August. Right now, we are divided into two groups. We have one group which is training in Vienna, they are playing in the competition over there and they train two to three times a week together. Then we have the second group, which are players who are playing abroad, in Holland and Belgium and a lot of guys are playing in Germany, which can also be a bit of an advantage for us because the guys know the league and know the players we are playing against. I think we will be prepared pretty good for this event.”
What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Benjamin Stanzl: “We will have a good game plan for these two games. It will start with a strong defence, of course. That fits us really good, also with our indoor skills. We have a lot of quality in our team, and we will try to be a bit uncomfortable for the German defence. In the end we will see what the outcome is from these two games, but I think we are ready for this.”
What are your thoughts about the Germany team, and how is your squad feeling about these matches?
Benjamin Stanzl: “I think the style of the Germans is a bit similar to our style. Their main focus is defence, and of course they have good, skilful players in offence as well. It will be a really hard task for us, but they are number six in the world and we are number 20, so all the pressure is on them. I think it will be a good event, close to Austria, so hopefully a few people are coming [to support] us. I think everybody is looking forward to these two games and hopefully we can make it in the end.”
Finally, what would qualifying for Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Benjamin Stanzl: “Qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics would be the biggest achievement for everyone in our team. I think that is also the reason why we are training so hard, why we go abroad and are away from our families, to achieve these things. Playing at the Olympics is one of the biggest goals of every hockey player. It would also be really good for Austrian hockey, I think. We will try everything to make the dream come true.”
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.
For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, .
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