On the way to defending its title, the German national fistball team will face Switzerland, Italy and Namibia in the preliminary round at the 2023 World Championships in Mannheim. This was the result of the draw, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening. Excitement promises in addition the preliminary round group B, in which runner-up world champion Austria gets to do it with the three South American teams Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
It will be special, the fistball world championship. World Championship Managing Director Sönke Spille is sure of that. Planning for the World Championship in Mannheim has been underway since 2019, and Spille has been in charge of the World Championship Organizing Committee since the summer of 2022. For the first time, the participating World Championship teams had to go through a qualification, in addition, only one match will be kicked off at each time – the teams will thus be given complete attention. “For the first time, a World Championship will be held on natural grass in an indoor arena. We are immensely proud to provide a real premiere here.”
Nick Trinemeier dreams of home MWC in Mannheim
When the final matches take place in the SAP Arena on July 28 and 29, the German team also wants to compete for the title at its home World Championship. “We want to be world champions one hundred percent. That’s our ambition, we know about the quality, but it still won’t be a foregone conclusion,” says Nick Trinemeier. The Mannheim native has already won two World Championship titles, in addition to becoming World Games winner and European champion.
The World Championship in his hometown could now be the highlight of his career – if he is called up to the ten-man World Championship squad by national coach Olaf Neuenfeld at the end of May. “Hopes are high, of course,” says Trinemeier: “I hope my chances are, too. We have a super strong squad. We saw that last year at both highlights. We were able to field two squads that were replaced except for two players. And we still managed to win both titles. That shows you how balanced the team is. I’m going to give it my all. It’s going to be a tough job, though.”
After the national team’s opening training camp in Turkey at the beginning of April, the current squad of 18 players will be reduced to 14. The World Cup squad will then be nominated at a training course in Mannheim over Whitsun.
High-class games already in the preliminary round
If Trinemeier makes it into the World Cup squad, he and the German team will already be facing some exciting matches in the preliminary round. On Saturday, July 22, Germany will face Namibia in the opening match (2 p.m.). “I’m particularly looking forward to this match,” says Trinemeier, who once spent time in Africa himself and got to know some of the squad’s players there: “Overall, it’s an exciting and cool group with top-class matches right from the start.”
On Sunday evening, 7 p.m., Germany will face Switzerland in a rematch of the 2022 World Games final, which could potentially become a battle for group victory.
The preliminary round concludes Monday morning, 10 a.m., against Italy as part of Schools Day. “We have the best conditions to present our comparatively small sport, which is not so present in the media, in the best light here. The best way to do that is with events like this. I am glad that the federation and the organizing team have agreed that we will bring 2,000 students to the stadium for the match against Italy in the morning,” Trinemeier said.
Matches at Rhein-Neckar Stadium and SAP Arena
If Germany finishes in one of the top two places in its preliminary group, the team will qualify directly for the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The third and fourth-placed teams will face the winners of Groups C and D respectively. All preliminary round matches will be played at the Rhein-Neckar Stadium of soccer league team VfR Mannheim, which will be the venue for the 16th Fistball World Championship for six of the eight days of competition. “The home of VfR Mannheim will be transformed into a fistball stadium for this purpose,” says World Cup Managing Director Sönke Spille. There will be two fistball fields, plus a mobile grandstand that will allow fans to get up close to the stars of the fistball scene.
The three other preliminary round groups also promise excitement. For example, runner-up Austria will face three South American teams in Group B with Brazil (3rd place World Cup 2019 and World Games 2022), Chile and Argentina. In Group C, the Czech Republic will face New Zealand, Australia and Japan, and in Group D, the USA, Denmark, Serbia and World Cup newcomer India will meet. “Among the favorites, there will be no getting around the usual suspects like Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Brazil. These four will certainly play for the title. Chile certainly has outside chances, as do Argentina and Italy. They can certainly upset the big boys.”
Day tickets on sale – 30 percent discount until April
14,000 tickets have been sold by the organizers for the World Cup week so far, and from now on it is also possible to purchase individual tickets at the Rhein-Neckar Stadium. “Those who make up their minds quickly have the chance to get 30 percent off each day ticket by April 22,” emphasizes Spille. One-way tickets for the SAP Arena will be available from May 22.