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Nations League: ÖFB women face a herculean task in Rennes

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Nations League: ÖFB women face a herculean task in Rennes

“We know we need a special day to be able to take something with us. It will come down to one-on-one fights. We would be well advised to be there immediately and fight back,” said team boss Irene Fuhrmann. In the first leg, 1-0 on September 26th at the Generali Arena, it worked well for long stretches, but ultimately we came away empty-handed with a 0-1 draw. “We did it very well in Vienna, so we can dream,” said Fuhrmann.

There is also anticipation about the expected atmosphere, the 26,000 fans will be the second largest crowd for the ÖFB women’s team behind the 68,871 from the European Championship opening game against England in July 2022 at Old Trafford in Manchester. “Really cool stadium,” said the team manager. “For us it’s always something nice to be in front of a backdrop like this. We enjoy being able to play in front of so many people,” said Sarah Zadrazil.

ÖFB women are preparing in Krems

Austria’s women’s national team is preparing for the last two games of the Nations League in Krems. Away in France and at home against Norway, second place in the group should be secured.

The Bayern Munich midfielder draws a lot of confidence from her good performance in the first duel. “Our pressing worked well, but then the French also had a hard time. You’ve seen that when we act courageously with the ball, we have good chances. We were able to learn a lot from the game and want to implement them tomorrow,” explained Zadrazil.

The goal is to win the group

The Austrians, who are three points behind first place (seven points), are also looking backwards. Portugal (three points) and Austria’s final opponents Norway (two points) could still enter the fight for second place, which would mean staying in the A-League. If the two teams share the points in the parallel game, the ÖFB team would no longer be able to take second place even if they lost in France.

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Austrians have the Olympics on their minds

“We cannot influence what others do. But we are thinking ahead. If we perform well, we can even win the group. That’s the incentive,” emphasized Zadrazil. France has already lost a point twice: at the 2017 European Championship in the Netherlands it was 1-1 and in the European Championship qualification on October 27, 2020 it was 0-0 in Wiener Neustadt. And just over two months ago, the French women were under full challenge.

“Can annoy the big guys”

“It will definitely be a different game, we are playing against a world-class team away, they have a full house, so it won’t be easy. But we are known for being able to annoy the big guys, and that’s exactly what we want to bring to the pitch,” explained offensive player Julia Hickelsberger-Füller, who is fit again.

It is important not to allow yourself to make many mistakes. “If everyone gives 100 percent and we can minimize our mistakes, then I’m confident that there will be points,” said the 24-year-old, who will only have a “joker” role. Hanshaw, on the other hand, is placed on the left side of defense. She expects a “very intense” game.

Aggressive and offensive game expected

“We have to be prepared for France to play extremely aggressively and offensively.” The big goal is to be as good defensively as they were in the first leg. “And we also have to push the needle forward, create opportunities and take advantage of them,” said the Frankfurt legionnaire, setting out the route.

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With two 2-1 wins over Portugal, the foundation was laid for a successful performance in the inaugural season of the new competition. The group phase will end on Tuesday (7:15 p.m., live on ORF Sport +) in the home game against Norway in the NV Arena in St. Pölten.

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