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 2002 Info

After a 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.

In 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.

Following this 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 Germany.

The 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.

Regrettably, they 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.