Can Germans take the next step?
by Andrew Podnieks|11 MAY 2022
Tim Stutzle is among the young and upcoming players on the German men’s national team.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Last year Germany won four games in the round robin, knocked off the Swiss in the quarter-finals, and lost a tight 2-1 decision to Finland in the semis. They finished fourth, their best result since 2010. Under Finnish coach Toni Soderholm, the team has played with confidence and greater ambition, and Soderholm will have seven players from the Beijing Olympics at his disposal in Helsinki.


Philipp Grubauer is expected to take the lead this year. The 30-year-old will be appearing in his fourth World Championship after playing 55 games with the expansion Seattle Kraken. Grubauer has been an NHLer for a decade now and helped Washington win a Stanley Cup in 2018. Behind him are Matthias Niederberger and Dustin Strahlmeier.


Two names tower over the defence corps: Korbinian Holzer and Moritz Seider. In the case of Holzer, the 34-year-old has been a mainstay with the program since 2005, when he played at the U18s. He played at the 2010 Olympics as well as the 2022 edition, and his number 5 is emblematic of a fierce competitor. In the case of Seider, it’s the opportunity to watch a superstar in his early years of development. He played at last year’s World Championship and was named IIHF Directorate Best Defender, and he had been drafted 6th overall by Detroit in 2019. He made the Red Wings out of training camp last year and then took the league by storm. He is a top-3 contender for the Calder Trophy, and his play was so impressive he will also get a good number of votes for the Norris Trophy as well. Seider is a true stud, and he will absolutely be a key part of whatever success the Germans have in Helsinki. The 35-year-old Moritz Muller is another player to watch. He played in Beijing and will be appearing in his 10th WM. He was also part of Germany’s stunning silver medal at the 2018 Olympics.


As Seider is to the blue line, so Tim Stutzle is to the forwards. And as Seider took the NHL by storm as a defender, so, too, did Stutzle as a forward playing for the Ottawa Senators, a team like Detroit that is not very good right now but will be very good very soon. Drafted third overall by the Sens in 2020, Stutzle just finished his rookie season and had 22 goals and 58 points. He also is a Calder Trophy candidate, and in his case he proved to have a deadly shot while producing some magical passing. Never before has Germany sent two players to the NHL who had such incredible rookie seasons at the same time. A familiar name returning again is Dominik Kahun. Although only 26 years old, he played in the 2022 Olympics, his second, and will be appearing in his sixth WM. Stefan Loibl also played in Beijing, as did the 30-year-old Mathias Plachta, now in his seventh Worlds. 

There are several new names for Germany as well. Alexander Ehl is another newbie and one of two players from Dusseldorf, and Taro Jentzsch played at the 2020 World Juniors, and at 21 he is one of the youngest players on the team. 


Toni Soderholm has made his mark quickly with the team and will be in his fourth major tournament behind the bench. He knows the players and the traditional style of play of the German team, but he has made his own mark on the players and established a new level of confidence. With Stutzle and Seider, he also has two of the best young players in the world on his roster, and you can be sure he’ll use that to full advantage.

Projected Results

A 4th-place finish last year and a better roster this year means a certain quarter-finals berth and perhaps an even deeper run. The big question mark for Germany are the forwards and a lack of depth. Grubauer can deliver in goal, and the defence looks strong on paper, but can the forwards score enough goals? That will be the team’s greatest test.