On Tuesday there were still 33 days until departure for England. And now 28 German footballers know they are likely to be among those who can pack their bags for the European Championship, which takes place from July 6-31, rather than thinking about what to put on the grill at the Games. In Frankfurt, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg announced the list of preparations for the European Championship. The first bootcamp begins on Pentecost, and at the end of the preparations everyone should be ideally convinced that we can win the title.
“It may be that Germany is not among the top candidates. But it could also mean that one or the other is underestimating us,” said Vos-Tecklenburg. The role of two-time world champion and eight-time European champion has changed in recent years. In 2016, there was still a gold medal at the Olympics, after mostly disappointments.
2017 ended in the European Championship and 2019 in the World Cup in the quarter-finals, and the qualification for the 2021 Summer Games was missed. Now the big comeback should work. “I have an incredible amount of confidence in the team. If we start well, I am convinced it will be difficult to beat us. But of course we also need reason, conviction and security for that.”
A mixture of directors and young players in the German Football Association
For the success of the project, Voss-Tecklenburg relies on a mix of young players and experienced managers. It hurts that famous midfield manager Dzsenifer Marozsan from Olympique Lyonnais (a cruciate ligament tear) and holder Melanie Leupolz (Chelsea FC) are both missing. On the other hand, long-term injury-hit Alexandra Pope from Wolfsburg regained fitness in time, as well as experienced defender Marina Hegering from Bayern Munich. Captain Bob is the most experienced with 113 caps, compared to Hoffenheim’s Chantal Hagel with three. Their club colleague Julie Brand is the youngest in the squad at 19 years old.
The national coach emphasized the hierarchy of goals discussed time and time again: Merle Frooms remains the first choice. “Merle has been number one for three years, and the situation is not changing now,” Voss-Tecklenburg said. Almoth-Schulte held the position until after the 2019 World Cup, then the 31-year-old missed longer due to shoulder surgery and the birth of twins – but he still hopes to return as a regular. “I don’t see the decision really being set in stone,” Schulte said a week ago, who is moving from Wolfsburg to Los Angeles and his successor at club VFL Ho Fromms in Frankfurt.
Eight players each from Wolfsburg and two-time winner Bayern Munich, six from Eintracht Frankfurt and four from Hoffenheim. Sarah Depritz (Paris Saint-Germain) and goalkeeper Anne-Catherine Berger (Chelsea) are also coming from abroad. After the final session from June 21 to 29 in Herzogenaurach, the team will be reduced to 23 players.
Recently, the German women’s soccer team has been doing poorly
The poor performance the last time in a World Cup qualifier – there was a 2:3 defeat against Serbia – should have been a reminder of the European Championship. The experience of national record player Birgit Prinz, who travels as a sports psychologist and generally as a counselor, should also help. “It’s very important for everyone,” Vos Tecklenburg said of the 44-year-old. Each player can benefit from the world footballer three times: “She is part of the coaching team and she is present at every meeting, she knows what we need and how to achieve it.”
Just staring at the tournament won’t work. In the group stage, Germany meets two countries that Vos-Tecklenburg rightly consider among the contenders for the title: European Championship runners-up Denmark (July 8) and Spain (July 12). The Group C match against Finland will be held on July 16. The national team coach also sees France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and potential quarter-finalists England as the favorites: “In my view, you’ve never before had so much on screen.”
Energy, self-confidence, anxiety, and the joy of playing were those Tuesday’s keywords. In preparation, the team must “grow up very closely together”, which is one of the reasons why the only international match against Switzerland will be held in Erfurt on June 24. “We just need training time to make individual adjustments,” Voss Tecklenburg said. “We thought a lot in detail about how we approached the preparations, we communicated a lot and got the players involved.” Not everyone takes part in all preparatory courses, everyone should take at least two weeks off – in order to board the plane to England on July 3 with clean feet and as clear a head as possible.