All the stars
June 21, 2017
With the official end of the 2016/17 season, it’s time to have a look at the best-of-the-best. Why not begin with the so-called “Best League” in the world – the DKB Handball Bundesliga? You might be surprised by my choices, as the list includes only a few household names. But some newcomers just outpaced some of the familiar names, with two exceptions.
Goalkeeper: Benjamin Buric, HSG Wetzlar
Niklas Landin (Kiel) won the official award, but he often split playing-time with Andreas Wolff, so I think Buric – a league rookie – had more of an impact. He made sure nobody was missing Wolf in Wetzlar and he helped the team to set a new club record for points gained in a season.
Left-Wing: Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson, Rhein-Neckar Löwen
Entering next season, he will be 38 years old, but it seems like Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson is the same player he was ten years ago. His first steps heading into transition are as explosive as ever, his skills still amazing and his stats are incredible, as he was the only left-wing to break the 200-goal mark.
Left-Back: Philipp Weber, HSG Wetzlar
Weber joined Wetzlar only last summer from Leipzig, and will be heading back again, after only one season with the HSG. He did win the goal-scoring title and led the league in assists – such circumstances easily qualify him for my All-Star team.
Playmaker: Andy Schmid, Rhein-Neckar Löwen
The now four-time Bundesliga “Player of the Year”, Andy Schmid, has shown yet again how valuable a player can be without making a susbtantial difference in defense. However, Schmid was used as “left-wing” at times, adding another dimension to his game in transition. Fabulous!
Right-Back: Christoffer Rambo, GWD Minden
I know that Kai Häfner led all right-backs in goals by a mile (not considering penalty shots), but Rambo was instrumental in Minden’s comeback this season after relegation two years ago.
Right-Wing: Johannes Sellin, MT Melsungen
If Sellin hadn’t missed three games due to injury in the second half of the season, he probably would have ended up with the goal-scoring title. That’s why he gets the nod ahead of Robert Weber (Magdeburg), also because I saw some further improvement from Sellin compared to previous seasons.
Line-Player: Jannik Kohlbacher, HSG Wetzlar
After establishing himself in the league last season as a rookie, Jannik Kohlbacher is on his way to become the best line-player in the world, at least in offense. He is that good, if you ask me. His style is comparable to Julen Aguinagalde, but still unique. A future star and almost impossible to defend against.
Rookie of the Year: Nikola Bilyk, THW Kiel
When Bilyk signed with Kiel the only question was about him being able to compete with the best. He instantly showed that he is able to keep up with anyone. He’s smart enough to stay down-to-earth, yet skilled enough that the sky is the limit for the young Austrian.
Defensive Player of the Year: Bastian Roscheck, SC DHfK Leipzig
Bastian Roscheck is a surprise-choice for this award, but it’s well deserved. Some may argue that Tobias Karlsson is still in a class of his own, but only four teams conceded less goals than Leipzig. The main reason? Roscheck!
Coach of the Year: Kai Wandschneider, HSG Wetzlar
Wandschneider is just amazing. Although key players, such as Andreas Wolff or Steffen Fäth, left the squad last summer, he led the club to a record 41 points, demonstrating that team spirit can go a long way. I just wonder what he could do with a roster, including Wolff, Fäth and Tobias Reichmann.