2024 will be a unique year for German sports fans. UEFA Euro 2024 is right around the corner this upcoming summer; however, January already has another major tournament in store. From the 10th to 28th, Germany will be hosting the 2024 European Men’s Handball Championship, including six venues across the country. With the excitement building up, the new year could not start any better. Who will be crowned champions and why will the opening day be so special? Join us on our handball journey in the winter season.

Handball has a long history in Germany and Scandinavia, respectively. Especially in the northern-most German state of Schleswig-Holstein, it is considered the most popular sport in a country where football is usually overwhelmingly dominant. In 2007, Germany hosted the Handball World Cup and won the tournament subsequently. The scenes after the victory in Cologne are still present in the minds of German supporters who filled the indoor arenas across the nation. In January 2024, another major tournament returns and for the first time, it will be the European Men’s Handball Championship in Germany. The selected host cities, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Mannheim, and Munich cannot wait to provide first-class hospitality to sports fans from all over the world who will be attending a total of 65 fixtures with 24 teams involved. Interestingly, the first ever recorded handball match took place in Berlin 106 years ago. This time, the final will be held at Germany’s largest indoor arena in Cologne. What makes this tournament unique right from the start is a world-record attempt. On opening day, January 10th, the stadium in Düsseldorf, primarily used for association football, will be hosting the fixtures France v North Macedonia and Germany v Switzerland. The latter, a derby game between the neighbouring countries, is expected to be attended by 50,000 spectators which would be the highest ever attendance for an indoor handball game. The stakes are high, and the successful ticket sales are another indicator of how popular the sport currently is, and it underlines Germany’s passion for professional sports.

A hot winter in Germany’s indoor arenas

The German handball national team will surely be among the favourites to win the title, the last time they did so was in 2017, however, there are several nations who will be shaping up to go all the way. Spain won the Euros back-to-back in 2018 and 2020 respectively, and Sweden are both defending champions and record holders. Denmark is also a huge handball nation with a staggering three World Championships in a row. And one can never rule out the French who won numerous titles on the European and world stage.

A hot winter in Germany’s indoor arenas

With the opening day already providing record-breaking excitement, there will be several interesting fixtures along the way until two national teams meet in the final. Germany v France on January 16th at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin will be one of the highlights of the group stages. Also, Spain v Croatia, played in Mannheim, should be a stunner, including a decent crowd in the steep SAP-Arena. Even more hostile will be the derby game between Serbia and Montenegro in Munich. The Scandinavian teams, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden found themselves in rather easy groups in the preliminary round, but there will also be a main round with four more games per qualified nation before heading into the semis. The tournament will then be concluded on January 28th with the final between the two best teams of this year’s Euros. Last time round, at the final in 2022, Sweden edged Spain in a 27 to 26 nailbiter. It might be a cold winter season, but this event certainly heats up the month in Germany’s indoor arenas. Moreover, all host cities will be easily accessible by fast trains, via the Autobahn or by plane with up to six fixtures per matchday. Breakfast in Düsseldorf, lunch in Mannheim, and dinner in Munich? No problem, the Handball Euros will not only provide sporting highlights, but it is also a wonderful incentive to discover the country on a culinary and historical journey. If you are a sports fan, you can also add the German Sport & Olympics Museum in Cologne to your list to complete a unique experience in the heart of Europe. Six venues and a thousand sights to explore: Germany cannot wait to welcome the world in 2024.

A hot winter in Germany’s indoor arenas

You can find more information on the 2024 European Men's Handball Championship here: www.ehfeuro.eurohandball.com/men/2024

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