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Olympic match point for Hrubesch: Germany meets France

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Olympic match point for Hrubesch: Germany meets France

As of: February 23, 2024 4:29 p.m

The first international match this year is groundbreaking. With a win in the semi-finals of the Nations League against France, the DFB women would qualify early for the Olympic Games this summer. If we lose, we’ll at least have one last chance on Wednesday.

A touch of the Olympics is constantly visible at the football arena in Lyon. The blue and red coat of arms of the local association “OL” is emblazoned in many places. Normally Olympique Lyon plays its home games in front of up to 60,000 fans.

In this third-largest football stadium in France, the German footballers will play for one of two coveted tickets for the Olympic Games on Friday (9 p.m., live on Erste and in the stream as well as in the full audio report). Your opponents in the semi-finals of the newly created Nations League are the already qualified Olympic hosts from France.

We flew to stormy France with anticipation

So the footballers flew from Frankfurt to stormy France on Thursday morning with great anticipation and a lot of optimism, emphasizes defender Kathrin Hendrich with shining eyes. “We just want to make this dream come true. I would love for everyone in the team to experience that.”

For the VfL Wolfsburg defender it would be her second participation in the Olympic tournament. At that time she was “only” there as a substitute. With Alexandra Popp, Svenja Huth and Sara Däbritz, three of their teammates were on the pitch when they won the gold medal.

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Her coach Horst Hrubesch hasn’t forgotten the special Olympic vibes. Eight years ago he won silver with the men’s selection in Rio de Janeiro. “I would like to do the Olympics again and come to the Olympic village again,” the 72-year-old will definitely stay on the sidelines for this summer’s highlight if he successfully qualifies.

Hopeful Hrubesch is probably relying on dual leadership

Hrubesch made participation in the semi-finals possible. He took over “the girls” at the beginning of October from interim coach Britta Carlson, who had to do some rebuilding work after the early World Cup exit and the hanging game involving Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. The performances in the group phase of the Nations League were as varied as the colors of the Olympic rings. The last impression in particular was not a good one, as the team presented a mostly unimaginative performance in the 0-0 draw against Wales at the beginning of December.

The opponent, France, can be seen as much stronger. Despite the injury-related loss of their captain Wendie Renard, who is outstanding not only because of her height of 1.87 meters, there are many internationally experienced players in the “Les Bleues” squad. That’s why Hrubesch expects a “50:50 game” in Lyon. The coach is likely to opt for a strong aerial team with Alexandra Popp (VfL Wolfsburg) and Lea Schüller (FC Bayern Munich).

It’s about more than Hrubesch’s Olympic summer

As much as the trainer is toying with taking part again; In the end, it’s also about the future of German women’s football. Will Germany remain among the top European teams – or will it be left more and more behind after a weak year in 2023. The fact that no German club is in the round of 16 of the Champions League should not have lessened the worries in German football.

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If the ailing DFB gambles away its participation in the Olympics, as it did four years ago, the change in the coaching bench should be brought forward. Then, at best, a new national coach would have to be in place in March. Time is of the essence: important points for qualifying for next year’s European Championship will be important as early as April. Sports director Nia Künzer made it clear this week: “We are prepared for anything.” So your first trip as an official is quite something.

Wednesday it’s against Spain or the Netherlands

The Germans’ Nations League journey continues next week. On Wednesday they will meet either world champions Spain or the Netherlands, who will also play their semi-finals on Friday evening.

These are the days when women’s football in Germany comes into focus again. It’s up to the national team to steer him back in a successful direction. The Olympic ticket should be booked early at the Olympique Lyon stadium.

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