ZBetween the two long-haul flights, they struggled – with a broken bus, a fire alarm at the hotel, a delayed domestic flight and a training session affected by a hurricane warning. But because the long-distance trip also included twice 90 minutes of fast-paced, sometimes high-class football, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg emphatically placed the trip to the USA in a larger context. “During this trip, which was very important for us, we made experiences that were very important for the future of the team,” said the national coach.
The 2-1 win in Florida on Thursday evening was followed by a 2-1 defeat in New Jersey on Sunday evening. Because Voss-Tecklenburg knew that the games against the American world champions would generally be very demanding for her players, she made a special promotion out of it. For players who are not used to the speed and intensity of the game at club level.
Of course, this does not apply to the players from the Champions League permanent participants VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, who make up the bulk of the squad. So it was not surprising that young representatives of Frankfurt Eintracht received a lot of playing time in both games. In this country, the SGE is regarded as the upcoming big challenger of the big two, but failed early in the summer in qualifying for the European Cup group stage.
Voss-Tecklenburg spoke of a certain “error tolerance” that she wanted to concede to the young Hessians. And which was also needed. Although Sjoeke Nüsken (21) in central defense and Sophia Kleinherne (22) and Nicole Anyomi (22) as full-backs all had good scenes, it is clear how often they lost their bearings under pressure or from the physically strong Americans were almost overrun.
“A lot of things not right”
Kleinherne described the second meeting with the USA in front of a crowd of 26,000 in Harrison as “a game that we can take a hell of a lot out of”. Basically, above all, the finding that a significant slack at this level is penalized.
Because as convincing as the first half was – especially the first half hour, in which the combination game not only ran smoothly but almost naturally, including a well-deserved opening goal by Jule Brand (18th) – it got weaker after the change. The perception that “we felt like we had everything under control” (central defender Kathrin Hendrich) led to the national coach’s vote that “a lot was wrong in the second half”.
Sophia Smith’s 1-1 equalizer (54′) was preceded by a series of lost duels in and around the penalty area. When Mallory Pugh (56th) conceded the next goal, Hendrich and Anyomi were not very effective. It was thanks to goalkeeper Almuth Schult’s good reaction that things didn’t get any worse after a bad pass by Carolin Simon, who was called up to the DFB district for the first time in three years (77′). The long-time regular keeper and Ann-Katrin Berger, for whom it was an emotional return to the posts in the national team after overcoming thyroid cancer, each played one half.
Oberdorf in the hospital
What will remain of the last two appearances of the international season? Inflicting the Americans’ first home defeat in 71 consecutive home games without a win is a mature achievement. The 20-year-old Jule Brand artfully prepared the winning goal on Thursday and skilfully scored the opening goal on Sunday and showed that she can become a formative player in women’s football in this country in the future.
The trip to the USA will be remembered much worse for Lena Oberdorf. The central defensive midfielder had to be substituted and taken to hospital after a good half hour of play due to a shoulder injury. In any case, in Wolfsburg they are worried about the use of Oberdorf, who was voted the best young player at the European Championships in England in the summer, for the eight remaining games in the league, cup and Champions League before Christmas.
The influence the 20-year-old has on the German game in the defensive midfield center only became particularly clear in her absence. The national coach spoke of a “break” in the game that Oberdorf’s departure meant. But that initially could not cloud their conclusion of the double American endurance test for the second place in the European Championship. “A big compliment for this very varied, intensive and also successful year,” said Voss-Tecklenburg. “I am optimistic about the development towards the World Cup next summer.”