Dark rain clouds hung over the team headquarters of the german women’s soccer team near rennes – but youngster lena oberdorf was beaming despite the dreary weather in brittany.
The 17-year-old from SGS essen has so far played in three out of four world cup matches for the german eleven. "I’m really happy with my playing time," the defensive player said on monday in bruz. At the spa and golf hotel there, the DFB women are preparing for their quarterfinal match on saturday (18.30 o’clock) before. Opponents are sweden, which defeated canada 1:0 (0:0) in the evening.
At the age of 17 years, five months and 20 days, oberdorf had already made history at the german world cup opener. With her substitution against china (1:0), she replaced record international birgit prinz as the youngest german player at a world championship. The current team psychologist for the DFB women was 52 days old when she made her debut in 1995. It’s been a rapid rise for oberdorf: the high school student had played just 16 national league games leading up to the world championship – now she’s in the round of the last eight at the world tournament.
Melanie leupolz is visibly less satisfied. Before the tournament, she was considered a seed, but now she admits: "I don’t think you can really talk about a regular place."So far, the 25-year-old has only played one match for the full duration. In the group match against spain (1:0), the bayern player was only substituted in the 80th minute. She was substituted in the eighth final against nigeria (3:0) and had to stay in the dressing room for oberdorf at half-time. "I have to accept that," said leupolz.
Overall, the offer is particularly rough in the german midfield. With the expected return of playmaker dzsenifer marozsan for the quarterfinals after her broken toe, national coach martina voss-tecklenburg has one more option. Oberdorf can also play defense, but her regular position is on the six, as with leupolz. "Lena and i are similar types," leupolz said. The national coach can draw on the full resources and flexibly adapt the system to the opponent. Which of the two will be on the pitch in the quarterfinals on saturday in rennes is still completely open – possibly even both are threatened with the bench because of marozsan’s return. Because unlike the duo, marozsan is set to play when she is fit.
The german team has a total of one week after the eighth finals to prepare for the next game. Leupolz is not afraid that this relatively long pause could harm the rhythm of the tournament. This gives them time to heal from injuries and recharge their batteries. This also applies to goalkeeper almuth schult, who took a break from training on monday due to a slight cold.
On tuesday, the players are free to train and spend the day as they please. Social games like "wizard," "qwixx" and "mensch arger dich nicht" are very popular, oberdorf revealed. However, the high school student from gevelsberg also has other duties: "I’ll probably be doing some catching up for school."