The German national team faces the first endurance test at this European Championship against Spain. The mood in the team is great despite the absence of top scorer Lea Schüller, but a Uefa regulation annoys national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.

National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg had to say something at the press conference before the European Championship group game against Spain. “I would really like to use the moment now to put my finger in the wound. We asked Uefa beforehand to think about whether we could take 26 players with us. That was not guaranteed, although the men at the World Cup can do,” said Voss-Tecklenburg on Monday evening.

One day before the important game against the Spaniards, the DFB-Elf had received bad news. Center forward Lea Schüller tested positive for the corona virus and will be out for at least five days. At the moment she is only showing mild symptoms, the national coach reported. It remains to be seen whether the goalscorer from FC Bayern can test herself after five days. She should be free of symptoms. It is just as possible that further corona cases will occur and Voss-Teckenburg will be short of staff. Worries are reinforced by the absence of midfielder Laura Freigang, who is suffering from knee problems.

The outcry would have been greater among the men

The national coach is annoyed that corona infections were foreseeable. And with 26 players in the squad, failures would be easier to cope with. Voss-Tecklenburg. appealed to Uefa to reconsider the restriction. It also resonated that this regulation is yet another example of the discrimination against women’s football. Just imagine if the men were playing here, the outcry in the media would be significantly louder.

It is the big crux of women’s football that it is repeatedly confronted with the overwhelming majority of men. Money, attention, more difficult framework conditions, unfair comparisons – the footballers are fighting for more equality in many fields. That always resonates with such criticism.

The atmosphere in the national team, which resides in the elegant Hilton London Syon Parks in west London, is excellent after the furious 4-0 opening win against Denmark. Before the tournament it was unclear where the team was. Now the German soccer players are suddenly among the hotly traded favorites for the title. The biggest competitors are England and France. And the Spaniards, who overran Finland 4-1 on the first matchday. Voss-Tecklenburg even sees six or seven teams capable of winning the title.

That does not diminish the self-confidence that the German team exudes before the decisive group game in London (from 9:00 p.m. in the stern live ticker or from 8:15 p.m. live on ARD). The encouragement from home should help. The duel against Denmark last Friday evening was watched by almost six million viewers, which was a record for the day. The odds will be higher against Spain.

The respect for the Spaniards is great

The respect in the German team for the Spaniards is quite high. They are unbeaten in 24 games and haven’t conceded a single goal in nine games in 2021. The good news could be: The opponent will have to do without world footballer Alexia Putellas (torn cruciate ligament) and record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso (internal ligament injury). “It will be interesting to see whether Spain can actually compensate for the loss and what that means for the team in the course of the tournament,” wrote substitute goalkeeper Almuth Schult in her column for the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND)”.

The national coach has to think about replacing Schüller. With captain Alexandra “Poppi” Popp from VfL Wolfsburg and Laura Freigang from Eintracht Frankfurt, their two alternatives are available, which mean little less quality. Voss-Tecklenburg did not want to reveal who the choice would be. Popp celebrated her comeback with a goal and tears after the game. She had been out for months with a protracted knee injury and then a Covid 19 infection.

Basically, Voss-Tecklenburg was sure “that we will find solutions” against the strong Spaniards. In any case, a win would be a big step towards the quarter-finals or could even mean group victory. Then the German soccer players would play the next game back in London.

Sources: “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, “kicker”, “Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung”, DPA.