2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Preview: Germany

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The German Women’s National Team’s mixed results in recent years have made them one of the most difficult teams to peg down as the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in France. In 2016, they won gold at the Rio Olympics, but the following year they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of Euro 2017, as previously reported by The Guardian. 2018 was even more disappointing, as the German women ended the SheBelieves Cup in last place, which led to the firing of manager Steffi Jones.

After a brief spell in charge by Horst Hrubesch, who did lead the women to qualification, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has taken charge of the team. The former German international had previously been in charge of Switzerland’s national team, where she oversaw the development of the team into a competitive force. While Voss-Tecklenburg has an impressive resume and was the best option for the role, her appointment in late 2018 gave her time for only a handful of friendlies and training camps before the tournament, far from enough time for the team to properly hit its stride.

The team that will be competing in France will have a distinctly different look from the German team that made it to the semi-finals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Players such as Annike Krahn, Melanie Behringer, Anja Mittag, and Simone Laudehr are no longer involved in the team, while Alexandra Popp and Dzsenifer Marozsán have stepped up in their absence to lead the new generation.

Dzsenifer Marozsan of Germany tackles Chen Gao of China during the Women's Football Quarterfinal match between China and Germany on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Arena Fonte Nova on August 12, 2016 in Salvador, Brazil.
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Marozsán, in particular, will play an important role if the Germans are expected to live up to their past reputation. The Lyon number 10 is widely regarded as one of the finest attacking players in the world and her playmaking abilities have brought her two Women’s Champions League trophies and two selections as the best player in the French league. Her presence in France was far from a guarantee, as Marozsán missed a significant portion of 2018 while fighting a pulmonary embolism. Goalkeeper Almuth Schult shares similar importance to the squad, as well as health issues, having fought a difficult bout of measles during late 2018.

While the German team is always a factor and they have played well in their recent friendlies, the inconsistency that has plagued them in recent years has prevented most pundits from granting them the favorites status they have been given in past tournaments. The German women have the talent to end the tournament as the champions, but at the same time, it would surprise none if they crash out in the group stages.