successful era at the beginning and the middle of the
nineties, when the strong players of the former German
Democratic Republic had a positive influence on the
national team, then head coach Siegfried Köhler began
preparing junior players with a view to being
competitive in the Olympic year 2000. This campaign
however did not bring the required results as was
obvious during the European Championships in the Czech
Republic in 1997 where Germany made an early exit in
the preliminary round.
January 1998, when the "Bremen Cup" was a
qualification tournament for the World Championships
in Japan, Köhler changed tactics and called up the
more experienced Susanne Lahme and Nancy Celis.
Germany then won against Slovakia, Greece and Belarus
and qualified for the World Championships in Japan.
But in Japan, the Germans again had no success first
losing 2-3 to the Dominican Republic then going down
to Russia and Brazil.
debacle, Korean-born Hee Wan Lee took over as sport
director and replaced Köhler to lead the women's
team. His first job was the European Championships in
Italy where he registered his first success with
unexpected victories against Poland and Croatia to
send the side into the semifinals. Although they were
then beaten by giants Russia and Italy, it was a good
indication that the German team was on the way back.
Three month later,
the German selection fended off Romania, the Ukraine,
the Netherlands, Italy and Croatia in the European
Olympic qualification to be assured a start at the
Sydney Olympics 2000. Hee Wan Lee's aim was to finish
in the top eight in the Olympic tournament and his
line-up defeated Peru 3-0 and Italy 3-1 in a strong
group and qualified for the quarterfinal. They then
lost to Brazil and China but beat Croatia 3-1 to
finish in sixth place. This was a very positive step
looking ahead to the 2002 World Championship 2002 in
year 2002 began very successfully for the German team,
where, at the World Grand Prix in Asia and led by the
powerful Angelina Grün, they surprised the opposition
by taking the bronze medal behind Russia and China. It
now seemed as if the dreams and aspirations of the
team were within their grasp.
were unable to repeat this success as hosts of the
2002 World Championship. They hung on during the
preliminary round but with three defeats in the second
round against the Netherlands, Brazil and the U.S.A.,
they exited the tournament to finish overall tenth.