Bayer 04 Leverkusen took a big step towards securing their top flight status on Sunday with a 2-1 victory against TSG Hoffenheim in the Allianz Women’s Bundesliga. Following their second straight win, Bayer 04 now have an eight-point cushion from the relegation zone.
Defender Annike Krahn spoke to DFB.de about their improving form in the past few weeks. But the 128-time Germany international also looked ahead, as the 30-year-old is set to travel to the United States with the DFB team for the SheBelieves Cup.
The tournament kicks off on Thursday (23:00 CET) for Germany as they face France in Tampa/Florida. On Sunday they travel to Nashville/Tennessee where they play England (23:45 CET). The tournament concludes with an encounter against reigning World Champions United States in Boca Raton/Florida.
DFB.de: Miss. Krahn, how relieved are you after Leverkusen’s 2-1 victory against Hoffenheim?
Annike Krahn: Very relieved obviously. We are glad to have opened up a gap to the relegation zone. It allows me to join up with the national team in a much better mood.
DFB.de: You have now managed to record two straight wins following a number of defeats. What has changed compared to recent weeks?
Krahn: Our defence is more solid, but mostly we are taking our chances more clinically. Obviously these are two pretty important factors.
DFB.de: Two weeks ago, it seemed as Leverkusen were going to be involved in the relegation battle. Did you expect that before the season?
Krahn: We certainly wanted to distance ourselves from the bottom sooner. But especially around Christmas time, we had to suffer one injury after the other and we didn’t manage to compensate for their absences. Therefore, we are really happy to be back on track now and look to keep it going.
DFB.de: You are now set for three national team games with the DFB Team during their stay in the United States. Are you excited?
Krahn: All of us players are looking forward to this trip. It’s a highlight of the year for us. At the same time it will be an important opportunity for us to find out where we are at. We are not going there for a holiday.
DFB.de: Your first opponent at the SheBelieves Cup is France, with England and the United States also to come. How important will these games be?
Krahn: Very important. Qualification for the European Championships continues in April. The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are in August, which is clearly an event that we all look forward to a lot. Therefore it’s important to start the year playing against strong opponents.
DFB.de: In 2015 your three-year spell at Paris St. Germain came to end. How do you rate France as an opponent?
Krahn: We still remember them quite well from last year’s World Cup quarterfinal, where we had many problems in the game and only progressed after a penalty shootout. I’m eager to find out in what shape they are in and what team will take to the pitch. I still know a few of their players from my time in Paris. I look forward to seeing them again.
DFB.de: Are England and the United States similar opponents in calibre, or should they be considered even stronger opponents?
Krahn: It’s difficult to say. But all three nations are definitely among the top teams in women’s Football. The United States won the World Cup and England beat us for third place - I think that says everything. We look forward to these encounters. After that us players, but especially our coaches, will know what level we are at and what still needs to be worked on. I’m really excited to find out what will happen in the coming days.