Ahead of Germany women’s first World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Saturday (16:05 CEST), national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and midfielder Lina Magull spoke about the game and their aims for the coming months ahead of EURO 2022.
…the game against Bulgaria: Our aim must be to not allow Bulgaria to play the way they want to. They will throw everything they have at us. They’re involved in the qualifying for the first time, so we’re excited to play a new side.
…Germany’s opponents for the qualification campaign: These are some different kinds of tests for us. We will respect every opponent we face. We want to work on specific things in these matches and play at a high standard. All nations have continued to develop. It was perhaps surprising for some people that Turkey drew 1-1 with Portugal yesterday, but it wasn’t for us.
…the difference between Bulgaria and Serbia: There are actually several big differences. Bulgaria are taking part in the qualifiers for the first time, so they’ve not had a chance to play at this level for a while. Serbia have players at Champions League and Bundesliga clubs. They want to play football and have good technique in their DNA. They’ve got a couple of really interesting players, who are exciting to watch. It will be a different and more open game compared to the Bulgaria one. They will want to just settle in, get acclimatised and defend deeply. They will want to test themselves against the other teams. We’ve seen three games of theirs and there wasn’t a huge gulf in class between them and the other sides.
…what the fans can expect: We want to offer what you can always expect from the Germany women’s side. That means players who are highly professional and ones that want to play good football. All the players deserve some support. We will see a team that’s hungry to score goals and to put into practice what they’ve worked on in training. We want to convert that into goals, and we will show some emotions on the pitch. We are playing for everyone, including those there and those watching on TV, but also for those who aren’t interested.
…the line-up: There’s real competition for places, and the players know that. The closer we get to the tournament, the more we need to start preparing and getting familiar with each other. Some players already have an extremely high workload at the moment. We will need to carefully manage this and perhaps rest some of them, which we wouldn’t maybe do against other opponents. We have spoken a lot with the players individually. It will be hard to select an XI for this game. Some players who do deserve a spot won’t get one. It’s a luxury problem. There will be two players in the team against Bulgaria who might not be expected to be playing in those positions – that’s because we expect them to sit back so deep.
…World Cup qualification: We’ve obviously got the EUROs in the back of our minds, but our focus right now is on these qualifiers. It’s nice to be able to use them as games to prepare for the tournament. I’m happy to be involved once again. We’ve said as a team that we want to use these matches to grow close together and give us a positive feeling. We need to make sure we know what’s important. There are certain areas that we can develop, both as a team and as individuals. Things are most enjoyable when we’re scoring nice goals and remaining compact at the back.
…the weight of expectations before EURO 2022: Personally, I’m not feeling this external pressure. It comes more from yourself. We know that our last title was a while back, but I’m simply able to concentrate on our next few matches.
…weaker opponents: The fact that the teams aren’t perhaps as strong is no bad thing. It gives us plenty of chances to work on our weaknesses and to perfect our game. We have delegated tasks around the team and spoken about what’s important and how we want to play.
…the competition for places: I think it’s really good that we’ve got a large group of great players. The midfield is the most important part of the pitch and we’ve got good options there too. I believe that we’re all getting along really well.