With victories against Australia (5-2) and Norway (3-1), Germany Women have showed that they’re in good condition as they head into the 2022 European Championship. Head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg sat down with DFB.de to give her conclusions on the campaign, lessons learned along the way, and her side’s team spirit.
DFB.de: What are your thoughts on the campaign so far?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: Overall, I have a positive feeling of course. We scored eight goals in two games, but at the same time we also could have defended the three goals we conceded better. You could see that our play has become cleaner in terms of technique and precision, especially in the Norway game where they put us under more pressure. It’s always a waste of energy to win back balls that we lose cheaply. We scored three beautiful goals with great build-up play against Norway though, and we closed out the game with a clear game plan. It was a lot of fun! (laughs)
DFB.de: Why do you think that your team was under more pressure against Norway than against Australia?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: Norway were tougher in duels and seemed to be more up for them. In addition to that, the individual class of some of their players, Caroline Graham Hansen in particular, really tested us in transition.
DFB.de: Do you think Alexandra Popp played a special role because of that?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: Poppi needed some time to get into the rhythm of the game after her injury and the lack of continuity in training. As captain, she always puts the team ahead of herself and does whatever needs to be done. We needed a physical presence against Norway and she was able to react to long balls ahead of opponents with her positioning and intelligence. It just served to demonstrate how important she is to the team once again.
DFB.de: She was not the only important returnee though, with Laura Freigang also making her comeback. Her output of seven goals in six games speaks for itself, but how satisfied are you with her performances?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: The key is always being in the right place at the right time to get to the ball first, and Laura is a natural at that. She is always looking to develop her game further and she knows that there are some areas that she must continue working on. She never gives up, takes all feedback on board, and brings a certain relaxed cheekiness that means she doesn’t beat herself up too much if something doesn’t go her way in a game. Where she excels is in those tight spaces in front of goal when you just need someone to get a foot or a head on the ball to score. She’s always there. It’s a big advantage for us. After all, the more players you have who can score goals, the more goals you will score!
DFB.de: Paulina Krumbiegel also showed her prowess in front of goal when she scored the third against Norway. What was the reaction like on the sidelines?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: I was delighted for Paulina. She was unhappy with her performance after the Australia game, but we encouraged her and told her it’s okay to make mistakes. Then she was able to reward herself with a great goal, which was fantastic for her and for all of us. I think Pauli will be able to return home with a good feeling now.
DFB.de: What's next for the team in the coming weeks?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: The next time we’re together isn’t until June so until then, we’ll continue to observe and analyse our players. We’re in contact with other associations to find opponents as well. Then we’re looking at the draw for the World Cup qualifiers to start making plans for the autumn.
DFB.de: Looking back over the past few games, do you think that the sporting factors or the players in the team were more important?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: I think both are equally important. It’s always great to see both things working in harmony with each other, and to see older players helping younger ones, despite the competition for places. It was a special time for us. Of course, it was concerning when four players went into quarantine, but the team handled it very well. Our thoughts were with the players who had to leave and we stayed in constant contact with them. The negative test results were a boost ahead of the Norway game too. The players trust us as a coaching team, which is a great feeling.
DFB.de: Where do you see your team with a view to the European Championship next year?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: I think we’re doing well and we’re making great progress. I think we justifiably say that we’re among the favourites for the 2022 European Championship. That is the focus now. Everyone who knows the team and the staff behind the team knows that we have the ambition and the potential to reach our goal.