Sjoeke Nüsken and Lena Oberdorf are the two youngest players to be included in head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against France (10th June, 20:55 CEST) and Chile (15th June, 15:00 CEST). In an interview with DFB.de, Nüsken spoke about the upcoming opponents, her experiences in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal last season as well as the support she receives from the German armed forces.
DFB.de: Sjoeke, you’re coming off an intense couple of months, which includes the national team. You made your first three appearances for the side and scored a goal…
Nüsken: They were intense and successful months, during which I was able to experience a lot. I really enjoyed that time and of course it made me hungry for more. Now, it’s time to give it everything in our final two internationals ahead of the summer, as we will have enough time to recover afterwards. Maybe I’ll even go on holiday.
DFB.de: You’ve touched on it already, and your upcoming opponents are France and Chile. What are you personally hoping to achieve in these games?
Nüsken: I want to build on my performances from the last international break, when we beat Australia and Norway and I managed to score a goal. We just want to play well and win. Of course I’m hoping that, if I feature, that I’m able to prove myself to the coach.
DFB.de: You recently featured in your first DFB-Pokal final with Eintracht Frankfurt and narrowly lost 1-0 in extra time. What was that day like for you?
Nüsken: Firstly, it was a great experience for me to feature in a final like that. To lose in the dying minutes of extra time was tough. But, I think that we can be proud of our performance, since we fought hard as a team and who knows, we might have won if it went to a shootout. Now, our aim for next season is to reach the final again and to win the Pokal.
DFB.de: Are you still satisfied with your DFB-Pokal season overall then?
Nüsken: Being satisfied with something after a defeat is always hard, but we can be proud of our performance over the season as a whole, as we played good football. Personally, I was focused on my own development. I’m definitely satisfied with myself, despite how the final ended. But, there’s always room for improvement.
DFB.de: You finished in sixth in your debut Bundesliga season with Eintracht Frankfurt. How do you rate your season as a whole?
Nüsken: We started pretty well and were unbeaten five games in, but then went through a bit of a slump where we lost important games. Then, we became a bit more consistent towards the end. Overall, we need to be glad that we managed to turn things around and got back on track. Going through something like that also helps you grow closer as a team.
DFB.de: You made 22 appearances this season and scored two goals. How satisfied are you with your performance this season and what goals have you set for the future?
Nüsken: I was able to improve as the season went on. Towards the end I had managed to become a regular starter and was called up to the national team again. I think that I’ve grown as a player. In the future, I want to become a leader for the team and grow into that role. In the end, it’s like how it is in life: there’s always room for improvement.
DFB.de: In order to be successful with football, you’ve also received support from the German armed forces. What’s the connection there?
Nüsken: Exactly, I’m part of the Bundeswehr’s initiative to support high-performance athletes. I receive incredible support from them. The headquarters for female footballers is in Warendorf. That’s perfect for me, as it’s not too far from home. When I go to visit my parents, I’m therefore able to train in an optimal setting and play my sport. I’m able to use the weight room there or get treatment from the physiotherapists. They also pay attention to make sure that there’s no conflicts between my training sessions with my club or the national team. Additionally, I also receive financial support and can work there. In July, I will have to take part in a four-week foundational course. That was originally meant to take place last July, but I wasn’t able to take part as I was injured. That’s why I’m doing it this year instead.
DFB.de: You’re not only engaged in the armed forces, but are also studying on the side…
Nüsken: I’m studying civil engineering at the Hochschule Rhein-Main in Wiesbaden. Normally it’s all in-person classes, but that’s not possible right now due to the pandemic. Which is why I’m working from home right now and am doing online courses. I have a lot of support there as well, such as through the Deutsche Sporthilfe program. If, for example, I’m unable to take an exam then I’m able to take it at a later date or to do it online. That’s definitely a huge help.
DFB.de: Do you have any hopes for the future, both personally and in football?
Nüsken: The most important things are staying healthy and completing my studies. In terms of football, I want to establish myself at Eintracht Frankfurt and take on more responsibility as a leader. Of course I also want to do the same with the national team and take on a certain role within the team here.