Nobody knows anymore what to think of the German team. You probably don’t even know it yourself. They won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 but were eliminated in the last eight at the 2017 European Championships and 2019 World Championships. They completed the qualifying campaign for this tournament and won all seven games, but they faced weaker opponents. They know they are no longer favorites. “But that can also mean that some teams underestimate us,“, says national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
The defence, so often one of Germany’s strengths, is a cause for concern this time, especially since Marina Hegering, the Rock from Voss-Tecklenburg, was not fit. Germany recently lost a World Cup qualifier in Serbia, shocking even Voss-Tecklenburg. There were mitigating circumstances: many players were injured, some sick and Voss-Tecklenburg had rested some of the players who had gone far in the Champions League with Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich. Still, the defeat hurts and deep down the coaching staff know they’re not where they want to be yet.
They are in a strong group with Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark and hot favorites Spain and Finland. and the question is whether this thoroughly talented team has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Two experienced midfielders, Dzsenifer Marozsán (injured) and Melanie Leupolz (pregnant), are absent. Will enough players level up?
“We’re fully focused on the first leg against Denmark‘ says Voss-Tecklenburg. Win that and they should be able to afford to lose to Spain before hopefully beating Finland. The first game is crucial.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. Had a great career as a player, won no fewer than four European championships and was voted Germany’s footballer of the year twice, but is also remembered for scoring an own goal in the cup final. In 2003, in one of her last games, she put the ball late into her own goal and gave FFC Frankfurt the title, but afterwards she said: “It’s better that this happened to me than to one of our young players.” This comment brought she has a lot of respect and has maintained that reputation as a coach. She led Switzerland to world and European championships for the first time and has been national coach since 2018. The 54-year-old’s position is still strong, but it didn’t work out at the 2019 World Cup and they missed the Olympics as a result. Another setback would even damage their reputation.
Sarah Dabritz. The DFB says that Däbritz is such a great talent that you just can’t ignore her. She has always been one of the most talented players in Germany but has also matured as a leader since joining France and PSG in 2019. This summer, after agreeing to a move to Lyon, she needs to be a leader for Germany, particularly with Marozsán and Leupolz absent. She is only 27 years old but one of the few players in the Germany squad to have won the Euros in 2013. And despite her success in France: The woman from Upper Palatinate is still extremely down-to-earth and rooted. “When I get home, I still want dumplings with some kind of roast,” she says.
Lena Oberdorf. Three years ago she broke Birgit Prinz’s record as Germany’s youngest player at a World Cup. Three years later, she’s still only 20 years old, but she’s now part of the backbone of Germany’s midfield. She always makes herself felt on the pitch. You may not always notice her perfectly balanced passes, but you’ll see when she launches into one of her lively tackles. And despite her age, she already has a lot of experience. Oberdorf is not like other 20-year-olds who prefer not to say anything on the pitch. She talks all the time and tells others what to do. Her teammates are already calling her “Leader” and she is predestined for the captaincy at some point.
Relay a message
4-3-3, sometimes 4-2-3-1 is attacking
Frohms – Gwinn, Hegering, Hendrich, Rauch – Oberdorf, Magull, Däbritz – Waßmuth, Schüller, Huth
Hero of all time: Birgit Prinz
The German soccer heroine? Who doesn’t mention a name Birgit Prince here has forever discredited. Almost everyone in Germany knows Prinz, although she played at a time when women’s football was watched by few. But everyone knows she was a quick, assertive striker with incredible goalscoring ability. She scored 128 goals in 214 international matches and was World Player of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005. There was only one thing she couldn’t or didn’t want to do: give interviews. As a player, she didn’t feel like publicity – and now even less. But many are interested in her again because she is part of the EM team Germany as a psychologist. “Everyone can benefit from their behavior and their experience,” says Voss-Tecklenburg.
history of the euro
“In the fight for the ball, feminine grace disappears; and body and soul inevitably suffer damage‘ wrote the men from the German Football Association when they banned women’s football in 1955. The ban was lifted in 1970, but it was not until 1982 that they played their first international match. And you know what? They turned out to be pretty good at it. They used to be an attacker even before the tournament started to win the European Championship, securing eight of the nine tournaments between 1989 and 2013. Things have changed but they go into the tournament knowing that it will be at least another six tournaments before anyone can match their eight triumphs.
Realistic goal for this summer
Germany is still one of the favourites, but is no longer one of the top favourites. This time because the group with Spain and Denmark is difficultmost would be happy to make it into the quarter-finals. Germany could play England there and they would be the underdogs.