Before she burst into the wide world of football, Sara Däbritz was growing up close to the Czech border in Oberpfalz. But on Saturday (16:15 CEST), any feelings towards these neighbours will have to be put aside. The German Women’s national team are facing their closest World Cup qualifying challengers, the Czech Republic.
As winter slowly becomes spring, as the days become longer and temperatures rise, it signals the start of a special time of year for Sara Däbritz. Every year, this is the time when you reach the business end of the season. Titles are on the line, it’s time for things to be settled.
For Sara Däbritz, this important period is of particular significance this year. With FC Bayern München, she is fighting for at least second place, as they look to secure Champions League qualification. In the DFB-Pokal, she has a semi-final against Turbine Potsdam coming up on 15th April. But first things first, Däbritz must focus on the upcoming challenges with the national team. This Saturday she will be up against the Czech Republic, before the clash with Slovenia on the following Tuesday (16:00 CEST).
Däbritz is only 23 years old. Nonetheless, she is an integral part of the DFB squad. She is on the team committee, and is therefore a part of the team’s leadership group. “We want to win, we have to win”, said the midfielder. “The past weeks and months have not gone quite as we imagined. But now we just need to keep looking forward. We can’t change the past. We have to focus our energies on changing things that are in our control.”
The next challenge is the game against the Czechs. This will be no ordinary game for Däbritz, because she grew up so close to the Czech border, in Amberg. From there, she was a mere 30 minutes from the neighbouring country.
Germany won the previous encounter 1-0, thanks to an own goal. Despite plenty of opportunities, the ball just would not go in again. That should not be the case in Halle. The team, coached by Horst Hrubesch, look to play with joy, as well as with conviction and belief. “Under no circumstances will we underestimate the Czechs,” said Däbritz. “In the last game against them, we saw how dangerous they can be, and how difficult they can be to play against. We have had a warning. We can only be successful if we all work together.”
Däbritz’s words have some weight behind them. She is one of the players in the squad who drives the team forward. She has already made 51 international appearances. She has won the European Championships, and has an Olympic gold medal. But she is still lacking that World Cup winner’s medal. However, the fact that she hasn’t won it, does not mean she won’t. But Däbritz warns against looking too far into the future. “We should be focusing on the homework we have to do at the moment,” she said. “When we’ve done all of that, we can then talk about all of our long-term goals.”