The Germany women’s national team and head coach Steffi Jones began their preparations for defending their title on Sunday at their training camp in Harsewinkel before they head to the European Championship in the Netherlands.
The Olympic champions do not have much time. Their opening match of the tournament kicks off in four weeks’ time in a classic fixture with Sweden on 17th July. “We only have 15 days to prepare for the tournament but we want to use them as much as we can. It is about optimising the sessions we have and gelling as a team,” said Jones ahead of her first tournament in charge.
Jones had given her players some homework to do during their holidays following the end of the season in May. “We had three weeks off and each received an individual training programme to do. It was good to completely switch off our minds,” said Mandy Islacker.
The 28-year-old Bundesliga top goalscorer from 1. FFC Frankfurt is one of the oldest players in the squad at the age of 29. After farewells from Annike Krahn, Saskia Bartusiak and Melanie Behringer as well as injuries to Simone Laudehr and Melanie Leupolz, the head coach has added a number of new, young members to the squad.
A dozen members of the squad have made ten or less international appearances. As a new addition to the team, 19-year-old Lea Schüller (SGS Essen) will be getting her first taste of international football at first-team level. By far the most experienced woman is Anja Mittag at the age of 32, having made an incredible 153 appearances for Germany.
The final squad, including three goalkeepers and 20 outfield players, will be confirmed by Jones on 5th July, one day after the friendly in Sandhausen against Brazil.
Seeking to win their seventh European title in a row against 15 other sides, the DFB team will travel to their base camp on 12th July. Following a rematch of the Olympic final against Sweden, the team will also take on Italy and Russia in group B. The big aim will be to reach the final in Enschede on 6th August.