When Sara Doorsoun last laced up her shoes for the DFB team, the 103rd minute was running and she was substituted on in the European Championship final against England. That was a little over a month ago now. Not much time to digest the bitter defeat and yet the team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has to be back on point. On Saturday, the German soccer team will face Turkey in the penultimate World Cup qualifier in Bursa (2:45 p.m., ZDF).
From a record crowd in the sold-out Wembley Stadium, carried by a wave of euphoria, to Bursa and back to the everyday life of a national team: qualifying match for the World Cup, which will take place in Australia and New Zealand next year. It seems difficult to take such a game as seriously as one at the European Championship, where one highlight game followed the next.
But Doorsoun doesn’t want to know anything about that: “It’s a World Cup qualifier and a game that I’ll try to play just like any other game. We take every opponent seriously and want to solve our task confidently,” said the defender. “We want to put our best performance on the pitch, regardless of the opponent we’re playing.”
It was a special game for the 30-year-old, who has Turkish roots and, according to Voss-Tecklenburg, will be there from the start on Saturday. She replaces the injured Martina Hegering in central defence, just like in the final, only this time from the start.
In addition to Hegering, the national coach has to do without the ailing Lena Oberdorf and Giulia Gwinn as well as goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, who is suffering from thyroid cancer again. Fabienne Dongus, goalkeeper Martina Tufekovic, Sjoeke Nüsken and Jana Feldkamp have replaced them. Otherwise, Voss-Tecklenburg can fall back on the same squad as at the European Championship, which should be an advantage against Turkey.
The DFB team clearly won the first leg in Germany in April 8-0 and now they want to perform just as well. “We are a little curious to see how Turkey might have learned lessons from the first leg or how they will change and act,” says the national coach. “Nevertheless, we don’t want to attach so much relevance to it, but rather stay with us and take all the euphoria that we developed this week into play.”
During the week, the national team held a public training session in Frankfurt, which was attended by around 2,000 people. There have never been so many at a training session. So the euphoria in Germany still seems to be there. “It’s been with us the whole time, whether it’s fan mail or small gifts,” says Voss-Tecklenburg. “But none of this is worth anything if we are not willing to do something about it now, to change something.”
They want to start on Saturday and be role models in all areas with attractive football and off the field in order to “get radiance down, where the problems and concerns are completely different from ours”. All players are aware of that and the EM is still present in conversations with each other: “It shows me that it’s still not quite tangible and comprehensible because I don’t think we expected this positive reaction in this dimension. Maybe we surprised ourselves a little with our performance.”
However, Voss-Tecklenburg is not worried that her team might not take the game seriously. After all, it’s about qualifying for the World Cup early on. Germany are three points and 20 goals ahead of Serbia, who are currently second in the table, with their last two qualifiers to go.
Despite being the clear favourite, Voss-Tecklenburg warns of the Turkish team: “We know that Turkey is a team that is very proud, that will give everything and fight back with all their possibilities.” Nevertheless, they now want to take the step to qualify directly in order to “continue to carry what we have now started.”