The relief amongst the Germany Women’s national team was evident following the 8-0 win over Turkey, and the side’s final game of 2021 is against Portugal, probably their most difficult opponent of the qualifying group. Lea Schüller, who scored a hat-trick in Friday’s win, and returning squad member Marina Hegering took part in a virtual press conference, during which they looked back on their last result and also discussed the upcoming fixture.
... the match against Turkey: We can be relatively pleased with that. We’ve improved over the course of our last few games. It did sort of play into our hands a little bit that we took the lead early on, and we could have scored even more goals than we did in the first half. But overall we played much better than in our last matches.
... her goal which was eventually awarded as a Turkey own goal: On one hand, I’m annoyed about it because the ball was going in. I noticed straightaway that my opponent had got a touch on it because the ball looped up in the air to make it impossible for the keeper to save. But it was good to score in the first minute of the game, and it was a shame that it’s not counted as my goal, but as long as the team goes 1-0 up, I don’t mind.
... her link-up play with Jule Brand: We’ve been linking up really nicely in the last few games. Jule is so quick with her long legs so I’ve got no chance of keeping up (laughs). She’s the baby of the squad so I’ve got huge respect for her performances. We set each other up for a goal nicely yesterday. It worked really well, and I hope this continues in our next matches.
... upcoming opponents Portugal: Benfica made it really tough for us when we played against them in the Champions League with FC Bayern, and I think a lot of them are in the Portugal squad. They’re certainly our toughest opponents in the group, I’m excited for the game. Benfica pressed us well and their players were quick and strong in the tackle. I’m sure the Portugal national team will play a similar style of football, so we’ll need to defend better than we did against Turkey.
... the danger of underestimating Portugal: We know they’re strong opposition. We mustn’t underestimate Portugal. It will be a difficult game, we’ll give it our all and if we implement our strategy well, then we’ll win the game. We need to concentrate on ourselves but also not underestimate any of our opponents.
... her return to the national squad: I’ve really enjoyed the last few days, and I’m glad to be back. I was thrilled to get back onto the pitch for a few minutes, as well. There’s a good atmosphere in the squad at the minute, I’m glad we got a positive result yesterday and I’m looking forward to the Portugal game.
... the significance of the win against Turkey: It’s important to get the goals, which we did very well. There are always things that don’t go perfectly in a game, and we were able to work on things which we’ve not done so well in recent matches. That was a positive part of our performance yesterday. We wanted to keep an eye on the far post when crossing it in and that worked for us on two occasions, which just shows how we’re putting into practice things which we work on in training.
... being the oldest player in the squad: I don’t care how old or how young you are. If I’m the oldest, then so be it. But I feel really strong physically after my break. I think I know what my role in the side is, and I’m ready to help out where I’m needed. Above all I’m happy to take on board anything that I can. I’ll always give 100%, and I’ll do anything possible to help the side out.
... the trip to a warmer climate: We’re really glad to be travelling to somewhere sunny, and we’ll get plenty of vitamin D in Portugal. We’re looking forward to some strolls in the sunshine.