Bundesliga News

Europe: Euro Women
2 - 0
(2 - 0)
Germany W
Spain W
K. Bühl (3), A. Popp (36)

German women through to quarterfinals behind goals from Bühl and Popp

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

In a thoroughly engaging affair at London's Brentford community stadium, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's FrauenNationalmannschaft were able to hold off a Spanish side that maintained 60 percent possession and played four times as many passes as they.

The German women remained organized against Jorge Vilda's old-school "Tiki-Taka" squad and were able to secure a 2-0 victory.

The German women officially booked passage to the knockout rounds and clinched first place in their group with the win.

The Group B clinch means that the German women will avoid the red-hot English in the quarterfinals.
DFB squad captain Alexandra Popp
DFB squad captain Alexandra PoppSteffen Prößdorf CC-BY-SA 4.0
In another match at London's Brentford community Stadium, the German women's national team were able to pull out a 2-0 victory over Jorge Vilda's Spain in their second group stage match of the European Championship. Those watching the affair certainly felt as if they were watching one of Luis Aragones or Vincente del Bosque's old Spanish sides. In the end, the German women took their chances and all three points.

For Bundestrainerin Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, there would be one enforced change to the XI that routed Denmark in the opening group stage match. With lead striker Lea Schüller ruled out of the encounter with COVID, team captain Alexandra Popp came in to spearhead the attack. Interestingly enough for the 31-year-old striker considered by many to be the definitive face of German women's football, this would be Popp's first ever start at a European Championship. Injured for both the 2013 and 2017 tournaments, Popp never made an Euro start in 116 caps for country.

Spanish trainer Jorge Vilda made two changes to his team after an impressive opening 4-1 group stage win over Finland. Central midfielder Irene Guerrero and striker Esther Gonzalez, both of whom had rather tepid debuts, made way for new Manchester City midfielder Lala Aleixandri and Barcelona attacker Mariona Caldentey. Athletic club forward Lucia Gracia moved over to take Gonzalez's place as a central false-nine. Caldentey played on the left.

From the onset, it was very clear what the German game-plan was. As the Spaniards attempted to build out of the back, the German forwards mercilessly pressured the Spanish center halves in attempts to force turnovers, much like in the previous fixture. The strategy yielded early dividends. La Roja Feminina keeper Sandra Panos, receiving a ball from the poisonously pressed Mapi Leon, inadvertently sent a ball directly onto Klara Bühl's feet.

The 21-year-old FC Bayern München attacker happily accepted the gift, dusting off marker Irene Paredes and finishing sharply into the far right corner. The dream start that saw the German Mädels go up 1-0 in the 3rd minute did not lead to a diminishment of the press. It took some time for Spain to calm down and establish their possession game. Once Vilda's charges were able to recover, however, they generated the better chances for a time.

Germany's shaky center back duo was split all too easily in the 10th. Unfortunately, Lucia Gracia was unable to capitalize. German keeper Merle Frohms cut out the attacker's angle just enough so that the final effort hit the side netting. Patricia Guijarro would test Frohms again five minutes later. Three minutes after that, Aitana Bonmati just missed with a lovely curled effort. The German press disappeared and Spain's possession game grew stronger still.

As the half-hour-mark approached, the Spanish short-passing game continued to frustrate the Germans. Left-back Felicitas Rauch incurred a booking in the 27th for a cyclical foul and will miss the next match. The German midfield began to wilt and Spain continued to control the ball. There nevertheless seemed to be no takers for final deliveries into the box amidst Vilda's girls. Germany were able to double their advantage in the 37th off a corner.

Rauch supplied the delivery from the right hand side. Popp somehow managed to rise above a throng of bodies and headed home across the face of goal. Panos was left without a chance on the 2-0. The German Mädels then took control and pushed for another tally before the break. The scoreline still stood at 2-0 as it was time to head into the tunnel.

Voss-Tecklenburg opted to give Lina Magull a short shift on the evening. The star of the victory over Denmark had been struggling with a light injury and was replaced by Lena Lattwein at the half. Both teams were able to mount serviceable attacks after the restart. It was definitely the Spanish, however, who got the better foothold.

Excellent defending from Rauch and the oft-questioned German central defenders Kathrin Hendrich and Marina Hegering kept the Spaniards from becoming too dangerous in the penalty are. Voss-Tecklenburg's backs closed the spaces well with compact and disciplined defending. Matters got a bit hectic after a controversial haul down of Popp by Paredes shortly before the hour mark.

Somewhat rattled by the fact that VAR did not intervene in what might have been a clear goal scoring opportunity on Popp's breakaway, the German Mädels had a bit more difficulty focusing on their defending. This lead to some fouls and dangerous Spanish set pieces. Frohms had to keep the ball out of the net with two fine saves.

Following one more fantastic save from Frohms in the 71st, the Mädels were able to calm down again and were able to finish off the game calmly, clinically, and professionally. There was sadly a lapse from Lena Oberdorf late. The 20-year-old phenom earned her second booking of the tournament. Like Rauch, she will miss the final group stage encounter against Finland.

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