Germany is in the final of the European Championship. Who would have thought that a month ago? The least likely. At least that’s how the high-flyer Alexandra Popp sees it: “Nobody expected us and we’re now in front of 90,000 in the final against England in Wembley, honestly, there’s nothing nicer.”
The DFB team was enthusiastic about this tournament and reported back impressively after years with many smaller crises. Now they can reward themselves with the European Championship title. In fact, there was a duel between England and Germany at Wembley not too long ago. In the clash on November 9, 2019 in front of 77,768 spectators, Germany won 2-1.
When the final of the European Football Championship (6 p.m., ARD and Dazn) kicks off on Sunday evening, the two best nations of the tournament meet, and looking at the statistics, their way there seems just as easy. In five games, the hosts get five wins with 20:1 goals. Germany also has five wins and 13-1 goals.
Neither team can be said to be a clear favourite, England should be one of the favorites thanks to their home advantage and 19 games unbeaten. “I think the whole stadium will be against us. We’re not just playing against England, we feel like we’re playing against the whole nation,” says Lena Oberdorf.
The fact that you have the entire stadium against you can also arouse the “Now is the time” attitude among the German players, which they have been exuding since the start of the tournament anyway. In the semi-finals, the DFB team prevailed against France after a tough fight and once again put in an impressive performance.
Germany didn’t let themselves be thrown off course by the first goal they conceded in the tournament and went through with their game undeterred. This mental toughness could become an important trait in the final, especially if the Germans fall behind.
In addition, unlike in previous years, with the DFB team you have the feeling that they are always able to score. That’s mostly because of Popp, who could have her own duel with England’s Bethany Mead for the top scorer in the final. Both have scored six goals in the tournament so far, setting a new record.
It has long been known that England have world-class attacking players in Mead, Ellen White and Lauren Hemp. The German defense chain should therefore face some challenges and especially full-back Felicitas Rauch with Mead on the left.
There had been a change of position against France, so that Svenja Huth attacked for the first time from Rauch on the left flank. That basically worked well, Huth finally gave her two assists on the right side that she was familiar with.
On this side, Jule Brand slipped into the starting eleven for Klara Bühl after her corona infection and showed unexpected strengths in defensive work. The only 19-year-old won 78 percent of her duels against France and that as an offensive player. In retrospect, that was the right way to go against a strong French left that was not a factor for the first time in the tournament.
Nevertheless, the combination of Huth and Giulia Gwinn should be a little better, at least offensively against the somewhat vulnerable English full-back Rachel Daly. The two English central defenders were also vulnerable at times, at least in header duels. They couldn’t win a single game against Sweden. Crosses from the outside to Popp should therefore be an adequate means.
There will also be exciting duels in central midfield between Oberdorf and Francesca Kirby as well as Lina Magull and her future teammate at FC Bayern, Georgia Stanway. Kirby and Stanway are the key English players in the build-up game to take out.
After the great enthusiasm that Germany showed in terms of defending in the last few games, you can be confident. Thanks to their high level of fitness, the German team can keep up the intense pressing that has characterized them in this tournament for over 90 minutes. In addition, it presented itself extremely attentively and consistently exploited lack of concentration.
In the course of the tournament so far, the team was tactically perfect, thanks to Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her coaching team, who certainly worked out weaknesses this time too. Now it’s up to the DFB team to take the last step after an excellent European Championship so far. It would spark a whole new enthusiasm for football.