Germany have released their 23-player roster for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as the European finalists from a year ago attempt to knock the reigning champions, the USWNT, off their perch. The tournament, held in Australia, begins on July 20th.
Bayern Munich captured this year’s domestic title in dramatic fashion, but are only the third-most represented in the World Cup squad with four players — lagging Eintracht Frankfurt (5) and runner-ups VfL Wolfsburg (10).
Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s full squad:
Goalkeepers: Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea FC), Merle Frohms (VFL Wolfsburg), Stina Johannes (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Sara Doorsoun (Eintracht Frankfurt), Marina Hegering (VfL Wolfsburg), Kathrin Hendrich (VfL Wolfsburg), Sophia Kleinherne (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sjoeke Nüsken (Eintracht Frankfurt), Felicitas Rauch (VfL Wolfsburg), Chantal Hagel (VfL Wolfsburg)
Midfielders: Sara Däbritz (Olympique Lyonnais), Svenja Huth (VfL Wolfsburg), Lena Lattwein (VfL Wolfsburg), Melanie Leupolz (Chelsea FC), Lina Magull (Bayern Munich), Lena Oberdorf (VfL Wolfsburg)
Forwards: Alexandra Popp (VfL Wolfsburg), Nicole Anyomi (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jule Brand (VfL Wolfsburg), Klara Bühl (Bayern Munich), Laura Freigang (Eintracht Frankfurt), Lea Schüller (Bayern Munich), Sydney Lohmann (Bayern Munich)
Matching up with the USWNT
All eyes are on the Americans as they aim for a three-peat. The USA women captured the title emphatically in 2015 and dramatically in 2019, and split a pair of friendly results against the Germans last November. Germany won the first of those through an 89th minute Paulina Krumbiegel goal (Nov 10) but were undone by a quickfire double three days later through Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson.
If nothing else, however, Voss-Tecklenburg showed her side can go toe-to-toe with Vlatko Andonovski’s. Each game was an open-ended affair with both shots and quality in spades, and we can expect more of the same should the two teams come face to face again.
The Germans are one of the most credentialed teams at the tournament, having played in the Final of the European Championships at Wembley last summer — a 2-1 defeat in extra time to England.
But they have done little to burnish their bona fides in the lead-up to the World Cup. A 2-1 win over Vietnam (highlights) on June 24 was followed by a costly 2-3 loss to Zambia. The performances have surfaced familiar questions about Germany’s quality on defense — and even their ability to fashion reliable threats going forward.
Despite her prior successes, Voss-Tecklenburg will be facing tough scrutiny if these struggles continue and her experiments — Svenja Huth as wing-back — don’t translate to results. The Germans were good enough to dominate possession, but both opponents found plenty of their own opportunities with what little they saw of the ball.
And against Zambia (highlights), the Germans found themselves 2-0 down — requiring two goals in stoppage time just to equalize, before immediately conceding a third. In fairness, Germany struck the post multiple times before eventually getting their breakthroughs. But that certainly does not erase three defensive calamities, each of a different stripe: careless dispossession, collective loss of focus, and finally a long-range lob.
The land down under is full of deadly animals, and as it turns out the injury bug there packs a punch, too. Krumbiegel — hero against the USWNT and also adding a tidy, early finish against Vietnam — pulled out of the team camp on July 5 with a muscular injury, and Carolin Simon became the latest ACL casualty in the women’s game against Zambia.
“We now need to accept the situation for what it is,” Voss-Tecklenburg lamented (via DFB.de). “We have chosen this team knowing that we have a lot of talent concentrated in our squad. We will use the time in Australia to prepare ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead of us as best as possible.”
Group stage schedule
Germany headline Group H and will be widely expected to advance. Their slate:
- vs. Morocco (July 24, 4:30AM EST)
- vs. Colombia (July 30, 5:30AM EST)
- vs. South Korea (Aug 3, 6:00AM EST)
As the friendlies have shown, results aren’t assured even with an overall quality edge. But Germany have been here before and proven that when the pedal hits the metal, they can find another gear.
After getting so close last summer, this will be a chance for redemption. The show begins.