Thommo: GB can go toe to toe with Germans

(PHOTO: Schwenninger Wild Wings)

Former Great Britain coach Paul Thompson believes Pete Russell’s side can be a match for Germany as they begin their World Championship campaign today in Kosice.

Thompson is the head coach of DEL side Schwenninger Wild Wings and admits the German side, coached by Toni Söderholm, have a higher calibre of player in their line-up.

But warns GB won’t be underestimated as the Germans look to kick off their campaign with victory over the newly-promoted side.

“The Germans will be very thorough and won’t take them lightly,” he warned. “On paper, Germany should be the stronger team, but GB have defied ‘on paper’ in the last couple of years and would be great to see them get a result, even if my GM and fans wouldn’t think so.

“There’s no doubt the DEL is a high quality league and it’s a similar style league to the Elite League, but just of a higher quality.

“They’ve got better imports and pay the higher wages, but the style on the big ice is a North American style.

“But the first game can be the one that upsets the apple cart.  You go in fresh and healthy and it’s quite a tournament where all the games come in such a short space of time.

“I think GB can give them a good game.  Our boys have been outstanding in getting back to back promotions and getting to this stage and I hope they’re the surprise package.

Former Sheffield, Coventry and GB coach Paul Thompson coaches in Germany’s DEL with Schwenninger Wild Wings (PHOTO: Wild Wings)

“It’s at the end of a long, long season, but GB have had great preparation and will be ready to go.  But bear in mind, this German team reached the Olympic final last year and have the quality there.”

Thompson ran the rule over the sort of talent in Söderholm’s side the Brits will face when they face off at 3.15pm in the Steel Arena.

He picked out the players Russell and the coaching staff will have to watch, particularly in between the pipes where ‘Thommo’ believes is a real strength.

He added: “This year, they’ve got a new coach and a young team and for me, they have three guys who have played in the NHL who could be a threat.

“Leon Draisaitl scored 50 goals for Edmonton Oilers and you don’t get an amount like that in the NHL if you’re a mug.

“Korbinian Holzer and Domink Kahun are real talents as well and will be expected to deliver in this game.

“The goaltending is strong and the fact they’ve left out Mannheim’s goalie Dennis Endras and Danny aus den Birken, who plays for Munich says a lot for that particular area.

“The netminders they have are very good and they’ve left two out who are equally as good.

“It will be tough because of the talent the Germans have, but just you never know.”

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