The German soccer players started the European Championship from England with a thrilling performance and goals worth seeing. The team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg defeated Denmark 4-0 (1-0) in the first group game on Friday evening. “Someone has to be able to beat us first if we play like we did today. The relief is of course great. That’s a good basis, a great starting position,” said Voss-Tecklenburg.
In front of 15,746 spectators at the Brentford Community Stadium in London, Lina Magull (21st minute) and Lea Schüller (57th) from FC Bayern Munich and the two Wolfsburg players Lena Lattwein (78th) and Alexandra Popp (86th) scored against the European Championship runners-up from 2017. The DFB team immediately went to the top of the table. “We played ourselves into a frenzy. We are all very happy. Our attack pressing worked very well. A 4-0 win in the first game is outstanding,” said Schüller.
At the same time, the record European champions can go into the second group game on Tuesday against title candidate Spain (9 p.m., in the WELT sports ticker) with a lot of self-confidence. Three years after losing to Sweden in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, the DFB selection made a successful comeback on the international stage. It was only temporarily the “difficult game” predicted by guest of honor and DFB President Bernd Neuendorf. Mainly because the two-time world champion missed too many chances.
In the stadium of the Premier League men’s club FC Brentford, around 1,500 fans from Germany and Denmark created a great atmosphere. Five years ago, the German selection failed in the quarter-finals of the European Championship because of the Danes, this time they got off to a strong start. After 13 minutes, the DFB women had already hit the target three times: twice by full-back Felicitas Rauch, but then Bundesliga top scorer Schüller was offside when her header hit the post.
Voss-Tecklenburg fielded the same starting line-up as in the 7-0 win against Switzerland – that is, with Bayern duo Klara Bühl and Schüller and Svenja Huth from Wolfsburg in attack. Huth also wore the captain’s armband. She charged relentlessly down the right flank, bringing in one cross after the other. After energetically winning the ball, it was Magull who slammed the ball into the corner to make it 1-0.
The lead gave the Germans even more ball security. But all of a sudden, goalkeeper Merle Frohms had to stretch to fend off a long-range shot by Signe Bruun (29′).
The Danish captain Pernille Harder, two-time “European Footballer of the Year” and former Wolfsburg player, initially had the DFB team well under control. Even after the break, the German women attacked early and gave their opponent little space. After a Magull corner, Schüller headed in to make it 2-0 – and made a mighty leap of joy.
Wolfsburg’s Popp, who is now the most experienced with 115 international matches, came to Schüller for the first time in his long career at the European Championship after just over an hour. The regular captain and Olympic champion of 2016 had missed the last two tournaments injured. After her club colleague Lattwein made everything clear with the goal to make it 3-0, Popp finally scored with a header.
“The team performance was outstanding. We created an incredible number of chances in the first half. The 4:0 was also deserved in the height. That makes you want more,” said Popp. In added time, Denmark’s Katherine Kühl saw the yellow-red card.
Germany’s next opponent Spain defeated Finland 4-1 (2-1) in Milton Keynes. Linda Sallström startled the Spaniards with the outsider’s opening goal in the first minute, but then the favorites clearly dominated.
The Barcelona professionals Irene Paredes (26th) and Aitana Bonmati (41st) each turned the score with their goals in front of 16,819 spectators. After the break, Finland goalkeeper made a powerful save to prevent Laia Aleixandri from scoring another goal before Lucia Garcia (75′) headed in again. Mariona made it 4-1 with a penalty (90.5).