FEATURE | Three observations from Germany’s opening two Euro 2020 games

With six goals and two clean sheets, Germany are already safely through into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022. Already, they have emerged as one of the tournament’s favourites. They notched up an impressive opening 4-0 win against Denmark and then followed it up with a superb 2-0 victory over Spain.

Here are three observations on Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side from their performances so far:

Attacking with speed

The speed in which Germany turn defence into attack is frightening. At the start of both games Germany have charged at their opponents with ferocity. Their forward pressure has forced mistakes from opposing defences who have coughed the ball up close to their goal. Against Denmark it was Lina Magull who won back the ball from Stine Pedersen and finished powerfully past Lene Christensen to open the scoring. On Tuesday night, it was Spanish goalkeeper Sandra Pãnos who sent a pass straight to Klara Bühl, who ruthlessly fired the ball into the back of the net. During both matches, their intensive press almost single-handedly seems to put Die Mannschaft in front before their opponents have time to settle into the game. 

Even when in their own half, they are able to fashion quick chances without hesitation. Once turning the ball over, the centre-backs, particularly Marina Hegering, quickly send raking passes out wide, with Bühl and Svenja Huth the targets. Their ability to isolate and beat their opponents with pace makes them a constant threat for defenders. With both Lea Schüller and Alexandra Popp being lethal in the air, their quick positioning in the box makes it hard for opposing defences to organise themselves in time before the cross comes in. As if that’s not enough, there’s also the likes of Magull making advanced runs forward from midfield, while both full-backs surge from deep to create an overload out wide. Put everything together, and it’s a potent combination that has made them one of the standout attacking teams in the tournament.

A rock-solid defence

Having kept two clean sheets in their two group fixtures, Germany’s defensive structure looks rock solid so far. Impressively, they’ve only restricted their opposition to just four shots on target throughout the tournament. Key to this has been the form of Hegering, who has been imperious in stopping forwards from breaking past the defensive line. She and Kathrin-Julia Hendrich have excelled as a central defensive pair in cutting out crosses, stepping up to intercept through balls, and in forcing their opponents away from their goal.

Full-backs Giulia Gwinn and Felicitas Rauch have been dynamic in their play, darting forward whenever possible to create havoc on the flanks. Yet they are also diligent defensively and always seem to position themselves superbly whenever the opposition wingers attack. Behind them, Merle Frohms has made excellent saves when called upon. It’s a defensive unit that’s firing on all cylinders at the moment, which bodes well for the knockout rounds later to come.

Key players already in-form

What also helps Germany is the form of their key players. Frohms has hardly put a foot wrong in goal, while their starting backline have performed superbly to deny goals from Denmark and Spain.

In midfield, Lena Oberdorf has been imperious for her country, with her tackling and interceptions key for launching counter-attacks. Alongside her, Sara Däbritz and Magull have brought energy and creativity, helping to link defence and attack. Huth and Bühl have been electric out wide, with both Schüller and Popp doing a fine job of leading the line respectively.

There is little drop-off whenever substitutes are introduced too, with the likes of Lena Lattwein and Linda Dallmann able to maintain the team’s high-performance levels. Going forward, it appears as though this German group of players are already primed to produce consistent performances over the next few weeks.

For the early stages of an international tournament, it’s very much an ideal place to be, ahead of a potential quarter-final against Austria or Norway and even tougher tests ahead.

Josh Sim

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