For many of the supporters attending the Euro Hockey League Finals tournament there is only one match that really matters – HC Rotterdam v HGC. It is hardly surprising that an all-Dutch semi final taking place in The Netherlands would attract a lot of attention. However, the first semi final – being played between Germany’s Uhlenhorster and Spain’s Club Egara – is likely to be equally as thrilling.
What: Euro Hockey League Semi Final 1
Who: Uhlenhorster v Club Egara
Where: HC Rotterdam
When: Saturday 10th May - 12:00hrs (GMT +2)
Uhlenhorster – named as tournament favourites by legendary coach Maurits Hendriks – are in excellent form. The side have just won the regular season in Germany for the first time and recently defeated HTHC in their first quarter final of the play-offs. In the EHL they have been equally successful, outclassing WKS Grunwald, Azzurri Kelburne and Loughborough Students on their way to the semi finals. The side have four current Germany internationals in the shape of Eike Duckwitz, Carlos Nevado, Philip Witte and their captain Moritz Fuerste. It is Fuerste who is the driving force behind the team, and creates many of the goals for talismanic veteran forward Philip Sunkel.
Club Egara knocked Bloemendaal – one of the tournament favourites – out of the competition in the last round, proving that they are more than capable of upsetting the odds. They are the only team in the semi finals with two players on the shortlist for the EHL Most Valuable Player award, with David Alegre and Edi Tubau both being nominated. Tubau is Egara’s star player, and is capable of breaking open any defence, but it is Guillermo “Willy” Schickendantz who has been scoring the goals. The side will be without Eduard Arbos who be out of action for several weeks after dislocating his shoulder. Despite this, Egara are confident that they can go all the way in this tournament.
What: Euro Hockey League Semi Final 2
Who: HC Rotterdam v HGC
Where: HC Rotterdam
When: Saturday 10th May - 14:30hrs
HC Rotterdam have been hit with a number of injuries and availability issues, missing key players such as EHL Most Valuable Player nominee Ryan Archibald and fellow Kiwi Phil Burrows. However, that will not stop them putting up the fight of their lives to secure a victory in front of a sell out home crowd. One player who will be on the pitch is Dutch international Jeroen Hertzberger, who has been in outstanding form for his side all tournament and is joint top of the scorers chart with six goals. Another important player who is available is penalty corner ace Sohail Abbas, who is a potential match winner for HC Rotterdam.
HGC are in a far better situation in terms of player availability than HC Rotterdam, but they have to face their semi final opponents in front of their home supporters. Great Britain’s Barry Middleton – named in the shortlist for the EHL Most Valuable Player award – has been looking sharp all season, but he will be without strike partner Eric Jan Iding who is injured. In Guus Vogels they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and veteran defender Bram Lomans has been outstanding form throughout the tournament.
The Final of the Euro Hockey League takes place on Sunday at 14:30 (GMT +2). For more information about the Euro Hockey League finals tournament in Rotterdam, please click here