Following some disapponting performances at the EHF EURO 2014 to date, Germany produced a strong performance to end their event campaign.
Just 22 hours after a surprising 24:24 draw with France on Tuesday, they beat Slovakia in style 36:22 to finish ranked 5th in Group II and 10th overall.
Their farewell 14-goal victory was the biggest ever at continental championship level, breaking an eight-year old record from 2006 when they beat Austria 34:22.
"We started weak, but thanks to the saves of Katja Schülke we managed to get the engine started, scored a lot of counter attack goals. We saw that our wing players clearly improved and we won deservingly. Our defence stood stronger than before," Germany coach Heine Jensen said.
There was little to play for for both teams in their farewell match at the EHF EURO 2014.
While Germany wanted to avoid a bottom rank finish, Slovakia hoped to gain at least a draw, as this would have avoided Pot 2 at the World Championship Play-off draw on 21 December for them.
Katarina Dubajova, who spent most of the tournament in the defence, started like back in her heydays for German Bundeslige side Oldenburg, when she became the league's top scorer.
The veteran left back scored three goals and supported by another teammate with a German connection, Thüringer HC's right wing Lydia Jakubisova, she helped Slovakia to carve out an early lead (5:3 and 6:4) after 10 minutes.
But Germany quickly fought back and scored three unanswered goals to turn the score to 7:6 in their favour.
Jakubisova, who became her country's record scorer in EHF EURO history with 25 goals, tied to 7:7 in the 17th minute, but the German dominance on the court became even more evident in the remaining minutes of the first half.
In the remaining 13 minutes they scored 10 times while only conceding three and went into the break with a seven-goal lead (17:10).
They then basically sealed their victory immediately after the break when they increased the lead to 10 goals as Slovakia committed many unforced errors while building up of their attacks and furthermore displayed some inefficient shooting.
Already in the 42nd minute Germany approached their biggest win at the EHF EURO after Svenja Huber successfully chipped in a long pass from Katja Schülke (25:13).
Despite a constant support from the crowds, Slovakia were unable to avoid a thorough beating and finished their first EHF EURO campaign after 20 years on the same position as in the 1994 edition (12th).
"No, we didn’t expect this kind of match at all. My team was exhausted, both mentally and physically. However, we are really glad that we played in Zagreb,” Slovakia coach Dusan Poloz said.
Poland, coming from Group I, therefore claimed the last ticket for Pot I in Sunday's World Championship Play-off draw courtesy of a better goal difference than Slovakia.
Svenja Huber finished the game as the best player for Germany, while Lucia Sukennikova claimed the same award for Slovakia.
"Although we finished successfully I am disappointed with this tournament. A lot of bad things came together so we did not show our true abilities. By looking on my overall performance in Croatia, there were two many downs and too few ups," Huber said.