DFB Women in the Arnold Clark Cup: improving dress rehearsals

DFB Women in the Arnold Clark Cup: improving dress rehearsals

When the flight from Frankfurt am Main to Middlesbrough was just days away, Martina Vos-Tecklenburg had already received the first bad news. Offensive player Alexandra Pope had to undergo another knee operation after a break of several months. Therefore, she will not be able to play in the first international matches of this year, which was scheduled at the end of January. It was also quickly clear that Marina Hegering would also have to pass important FC Bayern players, Sidney Lohmann and goalkeeper Laura Bencarth. The national coach was reluctant to do without them all, but well, in a squad of 25 players there is always someone training or injured. It has to be compensated for.

The cancellation list just kept getting longer and longer. “It’s absolutely unfortunate that it hit us in such a big way at this point in time,” Vos-Tecklenburg says. When the German women’s national football team boarded the plane for England on Tuesday, the list of absences had grown to 14 names. Ironically, before the Arnold Clark Cup. There is only one preliminary tournament, but from the German point of view it is very important this year.

After 2021 – with World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel, Portugal and Turkey – it was not really possible to determine where the team should be classified. An impressive goalscoring record of 31:2 was good for confidence, but ultimately meaningless when it comes to comparisons with the best of the world. At the 2017 European Championships and the 2019 World Cup, Germany finished in the quarter-finals, and they missed qualifying for the 2021 Olympics. One of the most important questions the national coach still has is: Where do we really stand?

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“Now other players will have more time to play, which otherwise wouldn’t have happened against top-class opponents,” says Vos-Tecklenburg

Four-and-a-half months before the European Championships in England (July 6 to 31), the Cup should provide more clarity with world footballer Alexia Putellas playing against Spain, Olympic champions Canada and England in the World Cup semi-finals. After that, there are more international matches, but this tournament is a dress rehearsal, so to speak. There should be more focus on defense and how the team deals with challenging situations – of which there should be a lot in the coming days.

In this tournament in the host country, the national coach is more concerned with performance and less with results. But instead of rehearsing an emergency with the best possible cast, the main thing is to improvise. Due to which the whole plan went awry. “But it can happen to us at the European Championship as well, so we have to take advantage of that and find a back-up solution,” says the 54-year-old: “We will be much smarter after the tournament.”

Round of owners before the start: DFB director Oliver Bierhoff, national coach Martina Vos-Tecklenburg and national coach Hansi Flick (from left) at the Frankfurt team hotel before departure for England.

(Photo: Thomas Boecker / Imago)

Playmaker Deznifer Marozson (Olympic Lyon) is missing from a hamstring injury, as is Melanie Leupolz (Chelsea FC), battling a “sensitive story” post the coronavirus infection. The pandemic is also to blame for the fact that more and more cancellations are coming lately , And that national coach Hansie Flick saw “how many young people are in our team” during his visit to the Frankfurt team hotel with DFB director Oliver Bierhoff, as Vos-Tecklenburg later said.

Sjoeke Nüsken (Eintracht Frankfurt), Wolfsburg women Svenja Huth, Kathrin Hendrich and Tabea Waßmuth and goalkeeper Almuth Schult (in quarantine) were exposed to COVID-19. Chantal Hegel, Martina Tufekovic, Sarai Linder (all TSG Hoffenheim), Hasret Kayiksi (SC Freiburg), Ramona Petzelberger (Aston Villa) and Leonie Meier (Arsenal FC) were recently named as absentees. “Now other players will have more time to play, which otherwise would not have happened against top-class opponents,” Vos-Tecklenburg says. “For us, that’s no reason to complain.” Selina Cersei (Turbine Potsdam) could be one of them. At this time the Bundesliga’s top scorer was chosen by the league’s coaches and captains to be promoted from the first half of the season and was called up for the first time.

Casting for the European Championship Tour is not over yet and more information should be announced in the next few days. Those who prove themselves against Spain at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough early Thursday (3.30pm, sportschau.de) have a good chance. The “world’s most complete team” for Vos-Tecklenburg is in a strong German group with opponents Finland and Denmark at the European Championship – and certainly an indicator. The other two Cup matches will be against Canada in Wolverhampton on Sunday (9.15 pm, sportschau.de) and against England in Norwich on Wednesday (8.30 pm, zdf.de). The winner of the tournament is the one who tops the table after three matches – and who was able to best compensate for his absence.

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