With high expectations, full of anticipation and without much pressure from the DFB President, the German footballers tackle the EM.
Before the planned departure from Frankfurt/Main, the new head of the association, Bernd Neuendorf, said: “I’m not someone who says the women have to make it to the final or the semi-finals, otherwise it’s a disappointment.” National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg once again warned of the tough competition for the record European champions in England.
Neuendorf does not want to give the DFB women any specifications for the cut. “I have always emphasized that I am not a president who says: You have to get so far,” said the 60-year-old of the German Press Agency. “I trust the coaching staff.”
Defender Sara Doorsoun from Eintracht Frankfurt put it this way: “We want to win the title.” Not only with the experienced Almuth Schult from Wolfsburg, who has to give way to the Frankfurt goalkeeper Merle Frohms, there is “total anticipation”. Of course, everyone in the squad of 23 around captain Alexandra Popp is dreaming of the final at Wembley Stadium on July 31st.
At the start of the European Championship against Denmark
Practically everything is at stake for the eight-time European champion on Friday (9 p.m. / ZDF) in London-Brentford against the 2017 European Championship runners-up. “The start against Denmark is our most important game – that’s our focus,” said assistant coach Britta Carlson.
Germany failed in the quarter-finals in 2017 with the team led by former Wolfsburg player Pernille Harder – at that time still under national coach Steffi Jones. A defeat against Denmark would put the 2016 Olympic champions and 2003 and 2007 world champions under enormous pressure in the second group match against title contenders Spain (12 July). Outsider Finland is the last preliminary round opponent on July 16th. In the quarter-finals, there is a risk of a knockout game against hosts England, who opened the European Championship on Wednesday in a sold-out Old Trafford in Manchester with a game against Austria.
The mission: Back to the top of the world
As a player, Voss-Tecklenburg took part in four European Championship triumphs – but she doesn’t want to know much about it anymore. “Without wanting to belittle the achievements of previous years: the level is tactically, technically, athletically much higher,” said the 54-year-old in an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on the current status of the world class, where Germany is not yet again, but again says: “That’s our job, and I’d like to win the DFB title as a coach. But it’s gotten more difficult and many people haven’t realized it yet.”
Voss-Tecklenburg basically had three years to prepare her team for the tournament in England after the bitter World Cup quarter-finals in 2019 against Sweden and the missed Olympic participation. Neuendorf visited the DFB women in one of their two training camps in Herzogenaurach and got “a great impression”. He didn’t have the feeling that there was a problem somewhere in the preparation: “That’s the best prerequisite for doing very well. I trust them.”
The national coach fears that many would expect German soccer players to have to win every tournament. “It’s important to me that it’s clear: It will be very close at this European Championship and it will also depend on the game and the little things. We will have cool opponents who can really do something,” said Voss-Tecklenburg.