Olympic champions Germany clinch 18th Hamburg Masters crown
Olympic gold medallist Germany clinched the 18th Hamburg Masters hockey tournament after playing out a 2-2 draw with London Olympic silver medallist the Netherlands in their final league encounter.
The black-and-white brigade, who were without regular captain Max Muller (he is undergoing an operation on his Achilles tendon), came under pressure when Mink van der Weerden converted a penalty corner in the 26th minute. Thilo Stralkowski made the most of a short corner to restore parity.
The Dutch looked like running away with the game when Sander Baart scored in the 68th minute, but the talented Christopher Ruhr saved the day for the home side with a final minute strike as they emerged champions by virtue of a better goal average.
Germany earlier began their campaign on a rousing note with a 6-0 victory over Ireland before they made mincemeat of England 6-1.
The Netherlands launched their campaign, thrashing England 6-1 before sailing past Ireland 4-0.
England after suffering two heavy losses against Germany and the Netherlands, posted their first win of the tournament edging out Ireland 3-2.
The Green Machine remained winless and finished last among four teams.
The Irish fielded a young side minus many of their key players, who featured in the FIH Hockey World League Round 3 event in Rotterdam.
For Germany, this was the second successive crown having recently won the second men’s Hockey World League Round 3 event in Johor Bahur, Malaysia.
This is the thirteenth time that Germany have won the Hamburg Masters crown. They had won the last edition in 2012.
The home side first won the inaugural edition in 1989 before enjoying a run of six consecutive title wins in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Germany also won the 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010 editions.
Australia and the Netherlands are the only two teams to have won the Hamburg Masters crown twice.
Australia won the 1993 and 2009 editions, while the Dutch clinched the title in 2005 and 2006.
It may be pertinent to mention that India had won this tournament once in 2003 – that event featured Germany, Spain and Argentina.
India last participated in the Hamburg Masters tournament in 2010, where they finished last among four teams – Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.