‘It’s good that not one team is favourite’

NOS Football

  • Eline de Zeeuw

    European Championship reporter NOS Sport

  • Eline de Zeeuw

    European Championship reporter NOS Sport

This European Football Championship are Sweden, France and England the big favorites. And don’t rule out Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands in the race for the title. But not so long ago there was really only one real favorite for the cup: Germany.

Of the twelve European Championships that were organized there, Germany won no fewer than eight. From 1995 to 2013, the Frauschafft dominated Europe.

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Jule Brand

But in recent years, the superpower has caught up. In 2016, Germany still won gold at the Olympic Games, since then it has not progressed beyond the quarterfinals at the major tournaments. It failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Die Rekordmeister will not start tonight against Denmark as one of the favorites at the European Championship. But where is the team now?

“Everyone in Germany wonders that, and I think the team itself doesn’t know it either,” laughs sports journalist Jana Lange after the German team’s last press conference in London. She has been following the German women’s team for SID media for years.

Difficult to predict

Lange calls the current team a particularly interesting team, which is difficult to predict how far they can go in this tournament. “They often played badly in recent matches, but they could also suddenly surprise,” she says, referring to the goodbye match against Switzerland, which the Germans won 7-0.

The fact that Germany is being overtaken by other countries has to do with the growth that the other teams are experiencing, but also with the fact that Germany did not have a national coach for years who clicked with the team, Lange explains.

It’s great that international women’s football has developed in such a way.

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Germany national coach

After the 2016 Games, Silvia Neid stepped down as national coach after eleven very successful years. “That was a breaking point. It did not work at all with her successor Stephie Jones. That has done something to the self-confidence of the team.”

Another interim national coach later, Germany now plays under Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who was given the task of rebuilding the team in 2019.

Many of the star players from the successful years have said goodbye, it is the youngsters like Jule Brand, who now have to do it. “Germany is in a transition phase, but it is now really time to take the next step.”

Doesn’t count anymore

National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg certainly knows what winning is. As a player, she became European champion four times with Germany. She admits: Germany may have been the best, but now that doesn’t count anymore.

“That’s in the past. Now we just look to the future,” said Voss-Tecklenburg from behind the press conference table at Brentford Community Stadium.

AP

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg

“Of course we want to achieve something in this tournament, but at the same time it is great that international women’s football has developed in such a way that six or seven countries can now win. It is good that not one team is the favourite.”

In addition, she says: “When I was still playing for Germany, only eight countries were competing for the European title, now it’s double.”

Heap

With European Championship 2017 finalist Denmark and outsider Spain, Germany is in any case in one of the toughest groups of this European Championship. But where the world’s best player Alexia Putellas was injured at the last minute at the Spaniards, important link Martina Hegering is returning to Germany.

At a European Championship everything just has to go right, and national coach Voss-Tecklenburg hopes to benefit from any underestimation by the other teams.

Secretly dreaming

The fact that Germany is no longer at the top of the bookmakers’ lists does not mean that there are no secret dreams of success in the country itself.

“We always have high expectations when it comes to football,” says sports journalist Lange. “The Germans remember the success of the past all too well. With that in mind, they hope for a miracle and beautiful football.”