The DFB Frauen’s first training camp under the management of Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has come to an end this Monday afternoon. For eight days, the 30 Germany women players have trained under top conditions in Marbella, as preparation for the year ahead – World Cup year. We caught up with the new head coach to talk about the training camp and the two friendlies against France and Sweden in late February.
DFB.de: Your first week as Germany Women’s team manager is over. There was a certain tension among the players ahead of the first meeting – how was it for you?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: I felt the tension too. But that’s normal: It’s a big task, so I’ll approach it respectfully and responsibly. The tension was soon relieved, however. You had the feeling from the start that this wasn’t our first week of working together, both on the pitch and off it. Everything ran very smoothly, for which huge praise goes to the team behind the team. Everyone knows how and when it is their time to complete a task and when they should take a backseat. The players also gave us in the coaching team this positive feedback. It’s been a fantastic transition, which may have been prepared, but you can’t prepare for what happens on the pitch – that’s a whole different side to teamwork. We’re on the same page - myself and the four other coaches.
DFB.de: How would you summarise things?
Voss-Tecklenburg: Positively. It has been an intense week of training in wonderful surroundings and with outstanding facilities available. Aside from the footballing side of things, we have talked theoretically about our playing philosophy. For example, the players had to reflect on the week individually, outlining the main focus of every session and stating what was good and what can be improved. This will give us an idea as coaches of how the players see themselves. One thing the players concluded in their feedback was that they made progress in each and every session. For me, aside from the focal points in training, this week was about getting to know the players, which I’ve not managed to do with all 30 players yet, but I will complete the round when back in Germany.
DFB.de: What was the point of these talks?
Voss-Tecklenburg: One talk lasts for around 30 to 40 minutes, in which the players are supposed to tell me among other things what position they see themselves in. But it’s not all about their view on the game, it’s also about their characteristics. I am convinced that certain positions in football require certain characteristics, so I want to get to know the players as people. That was my aim, which is why the talks were held one-to-one, in order to establish a degree of trust. Furthermore, I discussed an objective for each player, paired with questions on what support they would need in order to achieve this. Whether that be from the DFB, the coaching staff or the organisation. At the end of the day, it’s about getting a top performance out of them.
DFB.de: There were a lot of young players in the squad for the first time. What impression did you get of them?
Voss-Tecklenburg: The younger ones said after a day that it was really cool here. They were welcomed into the team well. Obviously they were somewhat nervous and tense going into this, but we took it one step at a time and made it very clear that they can’t do anything wrong here, but should just bring everything they’ve got. It was exciting to see them all and what we really like is how open they are. They are grateful for every bit of feedback and always want to improve.
DFB.de: What do you make of the atmosphere on the whole?
Voss-Tecklenburg: It’s was a seamless transition in a relaxed atmosphere, coupled with the fact that everyone knows exactly when to focus again. That’s exactly what we need, this differentiation between relaxation, focus, clearing your head and staying cool.
DFB.de: You will face France and Sweden in the first two international friendlies – why did you choose these two demanding tasks?
Voss-Tecklenburg: It is good for us to have to prove ourselves against these top teams before the World Cup. On the one hand it helps us find out what we can bring to the table and whether our game plan can already be implemented against these opponents, or whether it needs adapting. We also want to see how far our players have come: We’re playing in a World Cup in June, so we’ll need to push ourselves to our limits in every game anyway by then, so it’s good to test ourselves against the better teams. Britta Carlson and I will stay another day and watch the game between Spain and USA as well.