“It’s bitter that we have two serious failures in goalkeeper Dennis Endras and our new attacker Ruslan Ischakow. Ishakov has underlined his qualities with three goals in four Champions League games. Now both of us will be missing at least four to five weeks, ”said Mannheim’s manager Jan-Axel Alavaara, complaining about the injuries before the top game kicked off in Berlin. After the game, it seemed a bit excessive. Finally, the Mannheim team clearly prevailed 3-0 against the reigning champions.
Alavaara, together with successful coach Pavel Gross, set up an almost completely new team with eleven new signings at an early stage after the disappointing last season with the unexpected failure of the top favorite in the semifinals. “We have to be patient and wait and see how things develop. But we will stand up to the polar bears to the best of our ability and want to leave the ice victorious, ”the Swede had announced.
A clear challenge to the Berliners, who, unlike the Mannheimers, went into this second home game of the young season with a lot of tailwind. Because two days earlier at 4-0 in Bremerhaven, head coach Serge Aubin, who was anything but euphoric, praised his team: “We played our best game since the start of the pre-season, fought hard and were very solid in defense. Our number two in goal, Tobias Ancicka did a great job. «The 20-year-old goalkeeper had represented national goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger brilliantly and was consequently in the box against Mannheim to replace the slightly injured goalkeeper.
As is so often the case in the supposed top games, the expectations were not met. The first third was anything but a great game. Again and again the polar bears let themselves be pushed into the defensive role, and their parade storm row with Leonhard Pföderl, Blaine Byron and Marcel Noebels, who had already scored five of the 12 goals of the season, did not come off as hoped. So it was once again the goalkeepers on both sides who were the focus. As in Bremerhaven, Ancicka proved to be a strong supporter. On the other hand, Endras representative Felix Brückmann also shone. Finally, Lean Bergmann took care of the not undeserved leadership of the guests in the 16th minute.
In the second third, the polar bears increased the pressure significantly, but the fingers of one hand were not enough to list the multitude of missed scoring chances, especially in the majority game. Even in the power play 4 against 3, the benefit of all Berlin efforts was zero. Marcel Noebels missed the greatest chance in the 32nd minute, when the best player in the league was alone in front of the Mannheim goalie last season, but could not convert to equalize.
If the polar bears wanted to prevent their second home defeat, they not only had to run more than their opponents in the last 20 minutes of the game, but also had to hit the puck into the goal. Constantly driven forward by the chants of the fans in the Hartmut Nickel curve, they continued to give away chance after chance and in the end earned whistles and laughter from the stands. When Matthias Plachta from Mannheim (48th) then increased the lead of the guests to 2-0, that should have been the final decision.
Although only four of the 56 main round match days have been completed, the polar bears, who are traded as one of the favorites and who have formulated the title defense as their season goal, should have realized before the upcoming league games that after the 1: 4 against the three-time champions Munich and the 0 : 2 against Mannheim have the worst cards among the three biggest contenders for the title. In any case, they are still far from the form of their previous championship season.