Japanese women’s team skipper Miyuki Nakagawa (right) tries to steal the ball from Germany's Lena Jacobi in the first test match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday. The Germans won 2-1. - RICKY LAI / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: The German women’s hockey team are back in Malaysia after 41 years.
The two-time world champions – 1976 and 1981 – last played on Malaysian soil in 1973.
The Germans, ranked sixth in the world, are here for a five-Test series against the Japanese national team.
Coach Jami Mulders, 37, said that he wasn’t even born yet when the German women’s team last played in a tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1973.
“I’ve been to Malaysia five times ... but my most memorable moment as a player was when the German men’s team won the World Cup at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil in 2002,” said Mulders.
“The men’s team have played here many times ... but we decided to bring the women’s team to KL as I like the facilities at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.
“It is one of the best stadiums in the world. We also like the humid climate. We also came here because of the good rapport between the German Hockey Federation and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).
“Our women’s team also needed to come to this part of the world to broaden their horizon and to get to know the mentality of people here,” added Mulders, who has been coaching the women’s team since November 2012.
Under his guidance, the team won the European Cup in Belgium last August and the World League round three in Holland last year.
The German women’s team are also here to prepare for the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, from May 31-June 15.
Mulder said that they have set the team a semi-final target.
“We are in a tough group ... with Australia, England, Argentina, South Africa and China. So, we can expect some tough matches,” said Mulders after watching his team beat Japan 2-1 in their first Test match at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
Tina Bachmann gave Germany the lead off a penalty corner in the 19th minute before Japan equalised through Shiho Otsuka in the 57th minute.
Eileen Hoffmann netted the winner for Germany in the 62nd minute.
The second Test match will be held at Bukit Jalil at 7.30pm on Sunday.