Germany come into this match having yet to be defeated, one of the last remaining powerhouses to have not suffered some sort of upset this tournament. Great Britain just beat an Italy side who yesterday finished their pool above the USA, so this could be the match where the underdog surprises the top seeds.
Great Britain storm into this match and look incredibly confident, executing an intimidating long game during the first few points with both James Freeman and Hannah Brew flexing their muscles early on. The points are quick and clean, and the British rack up four points on the board without losing possession on offence once.
On top of this they hustle the Germans hard from the get go. So much so that coach Ru Veitl considered it the hardest defence they had faced so far in this tournament:
“[Great Britain were] poaching well, putting on great marks, getting into the lanes, stopping our game that we like to play and it cost us two turnovers early on in the game.”
Having already broken the German offence in the first point of the match, the Brits are able to frustrate them for a second time. After being forced to swing time and time again its Josef Ebner who impatiently sends a rising sidearm up from the middle of the field, only for it to be swallowed by James Freeman in the end zone. He does a quick give-and-go up the line to then propel the disc in to path of Adam Lothian who is streaking to the end zone, taking the score to GBR 3 – 1 GER.
But when the British D does momentarily let up, the German offence are ruthless. The British set up forcing the Germans into the middle, but they fail to stop Swenja Wagner receiving it on the line. Completely unmarked she takes a few seconds to scout out Robert Schumacher in the end zone and executes the huck with ease.
But Britain responds immediately with another quick point as Alex Cragg sends a long shot to Tom Mannings who then pops it to Brew maintaining the two-point gap at GBR 4-2 GER. With Great Britain’s margin already established, the game could be over very quickly if the Germans cannot stop these deep shots connecting.
However, the Veitl explains that they are not a team that turns up to games without doing their homework and he recognised early what was disrupting their gameplay. Moreover, he told his own team to replicate it:
“What we did well was we saw how good someone can mark and had a quick talk. We need to mark like the Brits do and stop throwing into poaches. [From this point] both our offence and defence improved.”
The next time the British O line step on the field, the point is long and features plenty of turns. Brew is still able to break beautifully but under increased pressure her deep shot to Mannings is swallowed by Micheal Remy. As the Germans level the game to 4-4, Great Britain take a time out. But instead of taking a breath, and adapting to the Germans straight up marks, they send up a terrible long disc that falls behind the receiver.
Now Great Britain have been kicked out sync, it is here that we see the Germans patiently reset the disc and masterfully penetrate the force. The disc repeatedly recycles through Valérie Möller who is finding her team mates on all corners of the field. The disc continues to swing and reset until it eventually finds Arne Reusch waiting patiently for a hole in the endzone. The Germans take the lead for the first time, 4-5, push the pedal to the floor and don’t look back.
It would appear that the tables have now completely turned and Great Britain are crumbling. Their defence is still fierce but they just can’t hang on to any discs that they win back. Dave Tyler gets a big layout block as the Germans continue to prefer the under cuts in the middle but moments later he turns with a rolling huck that dies too short of his receiver.
Great Britain are able to find former form a handful of times to get a few points on the board with both Alex Cragg and Brew sending Joe Thompson bombing to the end zone to pick up their discs for the score. But Great Britain just cannot break with the same consistency as the Germans can. The Germans continue to walk the disc up with phenomenal movement from the whole team. Having said that, handlers Nicolas Fink, Möller, and Thomas Zormaier gave stand out performances to help close out the game. They extended the German advantage to 6-11 without any other player touching the disc during the entire point. At this stage then, the Germans were simply waiting for the British to make mistakes in order to score and eventually took the 7-12 victory.
It was a stunning performance that thoroughly impressed the British, who graciously accepted defeat at the hands of such formidable performance. In fact, both teams, had nothing but compliments for each other, with both agreeing that this match was the highest level of spirit they have experienced at this tournament. As such, even though they denied her team contention for a medal finish, GB’s Chrissy Hunter believes her opponents thoroughly deserve the gold:
“My hope is that Germany will go all the way because that was a really great display of Ultimate.”
By Charlie Blair.