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This episode should be a ratings hit (nd-aktuell.de)

Good mood on the training ground, above all: Svenja Huth

Foto: imago/Beautiful Sports

There was a good mood when the German soccer players completed one of their last units of the second training camp before the European Championship. Assistant coach Patrik Grolimund, with his Swiss flair, had come up with some very demanding drills in the bright sunshine in Herzogenaurach: three teams that either play the ball with their hands or with their feet, all in a small space with changing tasks. Of course, at some point it looked like a big mess, whereupon roars of laughter roared over the extensive complex.

The obligatory media day in the “Halftime” building was like a pigeonhole, which gave a good picture of the hierarchical relationships in the German soccer team ahead of the European Championships in England, which will be played from July 6th to 31st. Sara Däbritz, who will soon be moving to the Champions League winner Olympique Lyon, and Almuth Schult, who will soon be playing in the USA, were placed in larger seating areas: The 27-year-old midfielder Däbritz is replacing captain Alexandra, who is suffering from Corona and is therefore also missing from the official team picture Pop up to the leader for now. Goalkeeper Schult is considered to be the mouthpiece in women’s football despite being relegated to the second game – the 31-year-old has an attitude towards everything.

Anyone who took a picture of the mood and opinions outside of these two sought-after executives was able to determine: interpersonally, things seem to be right before this tournament. Däbritz even thinks that the mixture of “young carefree and experienced players” now fits perfectly. She has experienced ups and downs in 85 international matches with the DFB selection, which is why the France legionnaire formulates the goal a little more cautiously than many others: “We want to be among the six to eight teams that can fulfill the dream of the title.” She is pleased with the open communication: “Everyone talks all day long.” Chatterboxes like Laura Freigang from Eintracht Frankfurt also manage to create self-ironic short videos about their fellow players on social media, which achieve astonishing viewing figures.

The first tournament after three years is not just about doing better than at the 2019 World Cup or the 2017 European Championship, Oliver Bierhoff’s DFB management expressly wants participation in the semi-finals. At the European Championships, however, there is also an overarching fight for attention in the mother country of football. That’s why a documentary about women’s football will soon be broadcast on several channels, dedicated to the career and passion of German national players who sometimes shed tears after an emotional speech in the dressing room. The production is intended as a series – a successful chapter in the continental title fight would come at the right time.

But national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg not only coaches good-humoured players in the Franconian province, but also some ailing players. In addition to unlucky Popp, who only complains of mild symptoms, Sydney Lohmann from Bayern Munich, Tabea Waßmuth from Wolfsburg and Sjoeke Nüsken from Eintracht Frankfurt are still suffering from minor injuries. It makes little sense to filter out the final squad of 23 for the European Championship this Saturday from the squad of 28. However, shaky candidates like Frankfurt’s Sophia Kleinherne long for this decision: “No one can tell, but in my head – like some others – it’s always an issue.” Voss-Tecklenburg will probably only make the final cut in the last Training camp in Herzogenaurach from June 21st to 29th: “It is important that we don’t go into the European Championships with too many question marks,” she takes a little more time.

If the 54-year-old is honest, there’s a big question mark hanging over everything anyway – especially when it comes to the performance of the eight-time European champion in a rapidly intensifying European comparison. After the media day and before the squad reduction, the German soccer players played a test against a male junior team on the Adi Dassler sports field on Friday, as usual behind closed doors. Otherwise there is only one official international match: Only in Erfurt against Switzerland next Friday will the eleven that will play in their opening game of the European Championship against Denmark on July 8 in Brentford be publicly visible.

Four days later, another all-or-nothing game awaits a German team in west London against co-favourites Spain, which has not just lost its former supremacy in the recent past. Realistically, it’s all about having all the options for the quarter-finals before the last group game on July 16 against Finland, where hosts England could then be the next opponents. At least until then, the good mood should last.

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