Germany serious contenders for Olympic qualification
Germany’s last match against USA was amazing. It was such a good performance and I could see that they have a good team spirit at the moment just by the way they played together. I think they have a big chance of making the Olympic Games but they must make sure they stay focused. The tournament is very tough with 11 matches across two weeks, and that is before you think about the travel involved.
Angelina [Grün’s] return has obviously helped the team. She is a good friend of mine, I know her very well and it was the right decision for her to come back to the indoor game after she finished playing beach volleyball. She has such a strong character and is a great team player who knows what the main goal is. She has played in an Olympics before, alongside me in 2000 and 2004, so knows what it takes to get there.
It is good that both Angelina and Giovanni [Guidetti, Germany coach] are often on the same page. He demands a lot from both himself and his team and will be desperate to reach the Olympics. I text messaged him yesterday to say congratulations after the win, telling him he has a new fan in my young daughter Emma. Giovanni of course text back saying that he hoped to see her on the team in 16 years’ time!
It is important to remember that although players like Angelina or Christiane Fürst and Margareta Kozuch are important, there are 12 very good players with them in Japan as well. This gives Giovanni the advantage to change the team around but maintain a high standard of play. A lot of Germany’s players are doing very well at the moment, for example, I haven’t seen Maren Brinker play better than she did against the United States. The team have to focus on the main goal.
I hope they finish in the top three. It is good they have two chances, with this and the continental Olympic qualification tournament, as it is always difficult to qualify for the Games.
The top three is hard to pick, but of course Brazil will be in there. I hope Germany join them and I think they have a good chance of making it. I haven’t seen Italy yet but I understand they are playing very well so I believe they will complete the podium. Qualification for Germany is the most important thing.
Tanja Hart is a former German women’s national team player who retired in 2008. A three-time Olympian, she competed at the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games with a best finish of sixth. Hart also competed in three FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships and won bronze at the 2002 edition of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix in Hong Kong. She also helped her team seal bronze at the 2003 European Championship in Ankara, Turkey.