The captain is back on board. After almost a year out due to a knee injury, Alexandra Popp is back in the German women’s squad. The 31-year-old Wolfsburg striker was brought back into the squad by coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, in preparation for the upcoming friendlies against Portugal (Bielefeld, 9th April 16:10 CEST) and Serbia (Belgrade, 12th April 16:00 CEST). The captain’s last appearance came in a 3-1 win over Norway in Wiesbaden on 13th April last year.
“We’re delighted that Popp is with us again. She’s a really important player for us both on and off the field. Her strong personality, her presence, her power and her leadership skills make her a key figure in the team. It’s great that she is part of our plans again,” Said the head coach.
Including Popp, nine players who missed out last time due to either illness or injury, are back in the squad. They include Svenja Huth, Tabea Waßmuth, Kathrin Hendrich, Almuth Schult, Lena Lattwein (all Wolfsburg), Sjoeke Nüsken (Eintracht Frankfurt) Sydney Lohmann (FC Bayern) and Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon). All nine were absent from the squad that competed in the Arnold Clark Cup in February.
The head coach must do without PSG’s Sara Däbritz, who suffered a concussion in a Champions League game against FC Bayern. Additionally, the injured Marina Hegering (FC Bayern) and Selina Cerci (Turbine Potsdam) who suffered a cruciate ligament rupture, are also forced to miss out. The pregnant Melanie Leupolz (Chelsea) is also absent.
It is unclear whether Linda Dallmann and Maximiliane Rall (both Bayern Munich) will be able to take part after they both returned positive covid tests.
“Facing Portugal and Serbia will be tough as they are our strongest group opponents. Above all, the Portuguese showed how much they have improved in the last year when we faced them in November. They are especially strong at the top of the pitch. Our priority has to be to get six points. We want to take another big step in the direction of the World Cup,” explained Voss-Tecklenburg. Germany have a perfect 18 points after six games and sit at the top of Group H. Second-placed Portugal are on 13 points, followed by Serbia who are on twelve.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg expressed her excitement at the prospect of playing the first international of the year in front of a crowd. “We are really excited to finally be playing a game with fans in the stadium. They will spur us on. In the past, Bielefeld has proved to be a fantastic place to play football with a great atmosphere to boot.”