Fairy tales usually start with “Once upon a time”. In Christian Dissinger’s case it starts with “I was called by THW Kiel”.
24-year-old German international Dissinger has been the living example of Murphy’s Law, which declares that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, for several years.
But the bad luck seems to have ended, and the rollercoaster is now moving quickly in the opposite direction.
In 2011, Dissinger became U21 World Champion with Germany and was awarded Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He then left his home country after signing for Swiss champions Kadetten Schaffhausen “to have more playing time,” as he said.
Right when he moved from Ludwigshafen (Germany) to Schaffhausen, his father died, completely unexpectedly.
The first international match with his new club was therefore supposed to be a much-needed highlight for Dissinger: In the new BBC Arena in Schaffhausen against EHF Champions League record winners FC Barcelona. But Dissinger slipped, twisted his knee, and was out for nearly one year with a torn cruciate ligament in the right knee.
“I really thought about quitting handball”
The 20-year-old left back fought hard to recover, and after 351 days was back on court for Kadetten in September 2012. Six months later he debuted in the German national team on 9 March 2013, right after he had signed a three-year contract with Atletico Madrid.
But Murphy struck again: 24 days after his debut in the national team, Dissinger tore his cruciate ligament in the left knee, and two months later, Atletico Madrid announced bankruptcy.
“At this time I really thought about quitting playing handball,” Dissinger says now.
Another one-year absence followed with no club at all as the streak of bad luck showed no signs of ending. But the two-metre shooter fought against the never-ending bad luck, started training at German side TuS N-Lübbecke, and had his Bundesliga comeback in April 2014.
Dissinger was free of injuries, and gaining more and more confidence – and then received the phone call from THW Kiel, asking if he wanted to join the German record champions in spring 2015.
“This was the turning point and the starting point of everything,” says Dissinger. “I knew that I had the potential to grow again, and at Kiel the luck returned.” In June last year, he moved to the Baltic Sea.
A strong start to the EHF EURO 2016
After only two months at his new club, Dissinger received his first nomination for the national team since March 2013 – but due to an injury he had to withdraw from playing the Super Cup in November.
“I thought that missing those test matches would end my dream of being part of the EHF EURO 2016,” says Dissinger.
But the German national team coach Dagur Sigurdsson still counted on his tall shooter. On 5 January, eleven days prior to the start of the EURO, Dissinger finally had his national team comeback, scoring eight goals from ten attempts in the test match against Tunisia, followed by eight more goals against Iceland four days later.
In Wroclaw he continued like this, finishing as Germany’s top scorer in their 29:32 loss against Spain with six strikes.
“Normally I could say it was OK for me, but you cannot say that a match was OK if you didn’t win,” Dissinger says about his first ever match at a major event with the senior team.
On Monday, he and Germany face Sweden in a do-or-die-match for his team:
“I had so much bad luck in the last years that a single defeat cannot stop my rhythm. But I do not have any thought that we might lose against Sweden – I am always optimistic after all that happened.”
And he has reason to be, as the fairy tale is showing signs of continuing – before the departure to Poland, Kiel extended Dissinger’s contract until 2020.