All eyes are on the two upcoming international games. The Germany women will be at it again in qualifying for the World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand on Friday (16:00 CET) against Turkey and Tuesday (19:00 CET) against Portugal. Kathrin Hendrich and Melanie Leupolz spoke beforehand about their first opponents Turkey and the development of the team.
Kathrin Hendrich on…
…competition in the squad: Competition for places isn’t new to us. It’s something we experience at our clubs and here with the national team. It is important to concentrate on yourself and not let yourself be distracted. I always try to push myself to the limit, but in the end it is the coach who decides who plays.
…their European Championships group: Our aim is to win every game - that should be the goal for us. Maybe that doesn’t sound right, but to win the title you have to beat everyone. The fact that the group is not easy might not be a bad thing, as we’ll have to be on the ball from the off. There are definitely easier groups, but we know what is in store for us. I have a lot of confidence in this team.
…the team’s development: Though we do need to take our opponents in qualification seriously, as Germany, there are other teams that we need to be competing with. Therefore, the preparatory tournament in February next year is very important. It will show us where we stand.
…work in training: We are working on making things automatic. We have to have to be able to perform on the pitch for 90 minutes, to be more compact at the back and more purposeful going forward.
…their current good form: Maybe I have matured. I don’t get too hung up on things and always give everything. That’s all I can do. There’s an ease about things at the moment and it’s a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it, but that doesn’t mean that I am working any less on myself. I hope I can keep up my form for a while yet.
…what might be considered a “home game” for her against Turkey in Braunschweig as a Wolfsburg player: I feel at home here in Wolfsburg. This is where I am every day so it is something special.
…her desire to attack: In the past I concentrated on defending, but these days, defenders are expected to get involved going forward. That is something I am working and focusing on. I have developed that skill, but there is still room to improve. It is also nice to score sometimes.
Melanie Leupolz on…
…work in training: It is important to come together as a group in terms of tactics. We have already completed the first analysis sessions for the Turkey game. We looked at set-pieces – something we want to improve - and in addition, precision and enjoying playing were things we talked about.
…Turkey as an opponent: They are good going forward. They will get more out of themselves for a game against Germany. They want to represent their country well. We are expecting to be up against good players who are very motivated and play with a lot of pace and good technique. We have to be well prepared.
…competition for places within the team: We have a lot of good midfield players and there is a lot of competition. But I am relaxed and try to give my best in training and in matches, whether that is for my club or for Germany. Everyone here has the right mentality - you have to give 100 percent. There is still a while before the tournament, so I’m not worrying about it. I have to keep working and the coach will decide in the end. With Germany we have always had quality players. You also have to use the time you have with your club to make the coach’s decision as difficult as possible.
…the German team: When you are training at club-level every day, you see where you need to improve. We can tell where our strengths and weaknesses lie. If every player improves then we will grow as a team. We have to act as a unit and use the time, including during World Cup qualifiers and the challenges in spring, and then we will be well prepared.