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Germany Back to Confident Best to Keep Olympics Dream Alive

Germany’s women took their chance to put a palatable end to a bitter year with a 3-0 victory over Denmark in Rostock. It kept their Olympic hopes alive and laid the foundations for a period of competitive resurgence.

Germany’s women are rediscovering their former selves. The often-emphasized but seldom-seen German virtues of determination, efficiency and grit were once again in evidence in the team’s victory over Denmark in the UEFA Women’s Nations League (UWNL) in Rostock.

It is the DNA that the German Football Federation (the DFB) has long been proud of but, at least of late, rarely been able to boast about. On Friday, in a do-or-die encounter, this team prevailed thanks to a performance that encapsulated all that they aspire to be.

There can hardly have been a better backdrop to the return of these much-vaunted values than an icy evening in Rostock, on the Baltic Sea. It was the perfect stage for Germany to take a stand and make

“The spectators had a hand in the result,” right-back Giulia Gwinn told DW after the game. “It was really a great setting tonight. The fans carried us. They were there in every moment where things got a bit intense or tiring, and that really helps each individual player.”

Hrubesch filled players with confidence

Headers from captain Alexandra Popp and Marina Hegering in the first half gave the team the advantage they needed. The perfect start to the game was matched with a perfect conclusion when Klara Bühl hammered home a third in the 93rd minute. It was a goal that represented a massive step towards the Nations League Finals next February, and thus possible qualification for the Paris Olympics later in the year.

In Horst Hrubesch, Germany have found an interim boss whose second spell in charge of the team has seen him steady an unsettled ship. Barring a shock in Swansea next week against Wales, Hrubesch can be content with a job well done. 

“I’ve said until now that the most difficult match is the coming one,” Hrubesch said after the victory. “But I don’t think that the girls will let anyone take this off them now.”

Hrubesch is likely to hand over the reins to a permanent replacement in the near future but will leave the team in better shape than he found it. Thanks to their renewed conviction, restored confidence and, above all the rediscovered sense of joy in their game, Germany once again look like a force to be reckoned with.

“He’d tell you that he shouldn’t take any credit, that it’s us girls who have all the ability, but that’s exactly what it is that he does for us,” Sydney Lohmann told DW. “He gives us this belief, this feeling that we’re unbeatable if we perform.”

“He demonstrates to us that we’re good,” Lohmann said. “Then we take this feeling out onto the pitch, and it’s just so much fun to play football.”

Documentary lays bare scars of summer

Friday’s match coincided with the release of a retrospective World Cup documentary by German broadcaster ZDF, which sought among other things to expose the cracks beneath the surface at the team’s tournament base in Wyong, Australia.

Players express frustration with their remote location, DFB staff quirks are called into question (including odd injunctions for the squad to regularly check their urine and to use their beds only for sleeping).

But, while this film rakes over old graves in an attempt to work out what went wrong under Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, the performance against Denmark was proof that these players have moved on to pastures new.

The team is over the tumult of summer and have put the disquiet that characterized the final months of Voss-Tecklenburg’s tenure firmly behind them. Germany are once again looking firmly forward, and offering reason to believe that their future will be bright.

Source : DW