Mark Schmitz has played for HSG Krefeld for a record number of…

Drive up to the Glockenspitzhalle and you’ll feel like you’re in the former DDR. A huge gray block of concrete is reminiscent of Eastern European stadiums in the 1980s. The only thing that supplies the home base of HSG Krefeld Niederrhein with color on the outside is a huge canvas with the image of an eagle, which is reflected in the emblem of the second number of the Derde Bundesliga West.

Once inside, the smile is particularly noticeable. The handball players of HSG Krefeld are in good spirits after Monday’s evening training. It is no surprise that they are in the running to participate in the promotion round where they could secure a place in the second Bundesliga. Coach Mark Schmitz, who has been in charge of the team since last summer, seems relaxed and sees that things are going well.

Grand sir

HSG Krefeld made a name for itself with Limburger (46). “A gentleman we all know what he has achieved,” says goalkeeper Lasse Hasenfurther, referring, among other things, to the European Cup that Schmitz won as a player with TuSEM Essen and TBV Lemgo. “But he doesn’t act like one.”

Schmitz, front left, during rehearsals Tuesday night.© Legisin

After the training, Schmetz explained why he is spending such a good time in Germany. Not only is this the country in which he has been active as a player for most of his career and celebrated his greatest successes, the sporting experience in particular attracts him to work in Neighbors. “The general atmosphere here suits me better. There is more pressure, more audience and the sport has more prestige. In the Netherlands handball is still seen as a hobby. I have guys walking around Krefeld who know they will never reach the real top and they still go for it in Every training and match… is ours Sportlicher Letter He has a busy job next to handball, but can be found in our hall at almost every training session. He wants to see how things are and how I work. And if he can’t, we’ll call him to catch up.”

to decide

Schmetz has never seen such participation in his country, winning national titles and cups as a coach with Volendam and Lions. “That’s a really big difference. In the Netherlands, I’ve never seen a board member in a coaching. I’ve only seen these people in games. How can they then create a picture of the way a coach works? Meanwhile, it’s these same people who decide your future No, in the Netherlands they won’t see me as a coach again soon.”

Lions head coach Mark Schmitz in 2018.© Annemiek Mommers

After his premature departure from the Lions Club in 2019, he was without a club for a year. But when Bundesliga III’s SG Schalksmühle-Halver stepped forward, Schmetz – who never hid his desire to coach a Bundesliga team one day – didn’t have to think twice. He took the distance of travel from his place of residence Jilin to Sauerland for granted. “It was a good level to return to Germany. Most clubs operate semi-professionally. In view, the third league is stronger than Benny’s. It is easier to move to the Eerste Bundesliga from this competition than from the Netherlands.”


The collaboration with Schalksmühle-Halver came to an odd end after two years. “I left there with a riot. The main sponsor’s son and the team manager’s brother were picked, but I couldn’t play. The main sponsor in particular thought his son should at least be on the score sheet and sit on the bench. The board, which extended my contract before A few months, he was pressured by him. I didn’t think that was right. When they realized a number of players didn’t agree that I had to leave and indicated that they were leaving, they wanted to keep me back. But at that moment it was already impossible to stick it on.”

HSG Krefeld saw his chance and brought in Schmetz. “A few years ago, the club wanted me too. Then they were just promoted to League Two, but in my opinion the selection was not strong enough to keep itself. Demotion would be a blemish on my resume. That’s why I didn’t do it at that time.”

Also read: Handball star Mark Schmitz: “My name is on the car … terrible”


Now both sides have finally found each other and Schmetz is enjoying a city where the Krefeld Pinguine ice hockey players are particularly popular, despite the fact that they are no longer competing at the highest level. The coach says that handball is also very much alive. The best proof of this was delivered at the end of February. HSG Krefeld made a strong image by playing the derby against TV Aldekerk 07 once in the ice hockey team arena, in front of a record eight thousand spectators. The whole region was involved. All clubs were allowed to postpone their matches at no extra cost so that their members could come and watch. This is what I mean by experience. You don’t get an event like this in the Netherlands.”

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