May 22, 2003 - The German national team left for Sao Paulo on Wednesday night for their opening World League Group C matches against Brazil this weekend missing their inspirational captain Stefan Hübner.
One of the most experience players in the German lineup, Hübner has torn a tendon in his knee and has been replaced by Eugen Bakumouski in a line up which has been named to cover Germany's two opening weekends against Brazil and Portugal. However Hübner hopes to return to national duties on Wednesday June 4 in time for when Germany host Italy in Munich on June 7.
For the immediate future, where German play Brazil on Saturday and Sunday before travelling to Portugal the following weekend, team management decided it would be better for Hübner to precautionary measures and have a full examination. "Although he will be able to play, we wouldn't want to take any risks," coach Stelian Moculescu said. "It is more important that he rests up to cure this problem and comes back to us completely fit."
Even though the Germany are seen as big outsiders ahead of this weekend's matches they are looking forward to their time in Brazil. "We can play really relaxed," Moculescu said. "Brazil are under a lot of pressure from their own home crowd and they currently want to shine in their first official match since winning the World Championship title last year."
Germany has been preparing since the beginning of May and trained together with the twice World Champions and World League defending champions Russia and the Netherlands.
Brazil has only been together for six weeks as they hope to reclaim their World League title from 2001. In the preparation matches with the Netherlands and Spain, the World Champions made a strong impression and comments from some of the Brazilian players before the beginning of the World League sends a strong signal to the German team and the rest of the teams in the World League.
"Our team is very motivated and enthusiastic, we want to try to improve one place better on our runner-up finish of last year," said Mauricio and Giovane.
The German team for their first two rounds of World League matches against Brazil and Portugal is: Björn Andrae, Christian Pampel, Norbert Walter, Ilja Wiederschein, Frank Dehne, Marco Liefke, Eugen Bakumovski, Till Lieber, Ralph Bergmann, Wolfgang Kuck, Mark Siebeck, Georg Wiebel.