The re-orientation period for Sara Däbritz is in full flow – both at her club and in the national side
Of course, the move helped her to process a lot of the disappointment. Amid the unpacking of boxes, setting up of shelves and deciding which picture should go on which wall; Sara Däbritz has had hardly any time to think about the scenes at the end of the World Cup in June. To think about those missed chances against Sweden, about the goals from Sofia Jakobsson and Stina Blackstenius, about going out in the quarterfinals or about subsequently missing out on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. “I stayed in France after the World Cup,” said Däbritz. “My parents and my boyfriend came out to see me. I was distracted by the move and I could think about other things, which was good”.
It has been a summer of change for the 24-year-old from Amberg, shaped not just by the World Cup, but particularly by her move from FC Bayern Munich to Paris Saint-Germain after seven years in the Bundesliga. Däbritz now lives with her boyfriend in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, about 20 kilometres northwest of Paris. “It’s a very nice city, cozy, with lots of cafes and boutiques in the historic buildings. Almost all of the other players live here, and the training ground is very close by,” Däbritz says. “Obviously a lot here is very new, especially the language, but I think I’ve adapted quite easily.”
Däbritz had been looking for a new challenge following her spells with SC Freiburg and FC Bayern, and soon found herself playing with PSG in the Division 1 Feminine, where other Germany internationals Annike Krahn, Linda Bresonik, Lira Alushi, Josephine Henning and Anja Mittag have played. “I believed that it was the right time to go abroad. It has always been my dream, and I’ve just fulfilled it,” Däbritz said before the World Cup.
Turning this dream into reality began as any footballer could hope, as she scored the seventh goal in PSG’s 7-0 win over ASJ Soyaux on her debut on 25th August. The time to acclimatise after the move, the ten-day training camp and the myriad preseason tournaments are over. Even the team full of players she originally did not know at all has long since become her own. And she has become a leader.
“We’re a very young team, but I am one of the experienced players so I see myself already as a team leader on the pitch,” said Däbritz. She has proved what kind of footballer she has become, not least at the last World Cup. She acts calmly with the ball at her feet, has good technique and great vision. But two other factors that distinguish Däbritz are her great determination and her passionate commitment. In the second World Cup match against Spain, Däbritz helped Germany to top the group, as she slid to knock the loose ball over the line in the penalty area after Alexandra Popp’s header rebounded towards the far post to give Germany a 1-0 win.
Performances like this are also in demand at her new club. The big rivals are Olympique Lyon with their star player Dzsenifer Marozsán. In their first meeting this season in the “Trophée des Championnes”, the Supercup between the champion and the domestic cup winner, the balance of power remained the same. Däbritz scored her penalty in the shootout to reduce the arrears to 2-1, but Champions League holders Lyon ultimately had the stronger nerves.
The league title will likely also be decided between these two clubs, so for Däbritz not much has changed in that regard – in the Bundesliga, Bayern were often the biggest competition for Wolfsburg. “There isn’t as much of a focus on tactics here as there is in Germany, so there’s a lot more free space,” says Däbritz. “This suits me as a creative forward player, of course.”
Before Däbritz and Marozsán face each other in domestic competition once more, they must first work together in the Germany national team. After analysing and discussing the World Cup with Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s coaching team at the last training session before the European qualifiers against Montenegro (10-0) and Ukraine (8-0), Däbritz has put the tournament behind her. “It was very important to revisit the issues, but we are all looking forward now,” she said.
“Now we have a lot of time to work with – playing against easier opponents and some tougher teams – so that will help us in our campaign and I’m sure that we will play an important role once again at the European Championship.” The re-orientation period for Sara Däbritz is in full flow – both at her club and in the national side.