Bundesliga News

Thousands line Römerberg to welcome German women's team back to Frankfurt

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

One day after their defeat in the Final of the the 2022 UEFA Women's European Championship, the German women's national team arrived in Frankfurt for a reception at City Hall and a presentation on the famed balcony overlooking the Römerberg.

While there were some sadder sentiments to be expressed before the team made it over to the Kaisersaal, a joyful book-signing ceremony and well-attended reception enabled the DFB Mädels to receive a welcome worthy of their tournament's efforts. 
German fans celebrating.
German fans celebrating.© Arne Müseler / arne-mueseler.de / CC-BY-SA-3.0
According to Germany's esteemed Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, some 7,000 spectators filled Frankfurt's famed Römerberg Plaza on Sunday afternoon to watch the German Women's National Team contest the 2022 UEFA Women's Euro Final. Even though the team ended up dropping the Final in heartbreaking fashion against hosts England, an even greater number of Frankfurt citizens returned to the town square to welcome the team back ahead of a presentation on the famous Kaisersaal Balcony. These figures were reported by both the FAZ and Frankfurt's Rundschau newspaper.


As the team deplaned at Frankfurt's Airport and prepared to board buses that would take them to the Rathaus, the mood was understandably somber. Goalkeeper Merle Frohms and injured team captain Alexandra Popp spoke to reporters. Popp, in particular, could not wipe the disappointment from her face. Ostensibly on her way to becoming the undisputed "Queen of the Tournament", the 31-year-old had to withdraw from the match yesterday after sustaining injury in the pre-match warm-up.

"Tired, disappointed, and sad," a clearly exhausted looking Popp responded when asked to describe her mood by a handful of reporters, "We had a bit of bad luck yesterday and conceded a fluky 'poke goal' in the second period of extra time. Luck was on their side."

"But I wouldn't say that we're merely coping with frustration," Popp added when pressed further, "We set some things in motion for us. We played a great tournament and can be proud of that."

The general mood improved as the Mädels were whisked to Frankfurt's City Hall, at which they were asked to sign the city's famed "Golden Book". The right is ordinarily reserved for Championship German teams, but this was not the first time that the city commemorated a second-place finish. Rudi Völler's 2002 World Cup runners-up came to the city to sign the book and meet the masses on the Römer Balcony.

German women's footballing legend Birget Prinz--now a consultant with the team--returned to sign the book. Prinz was part of the Women's World Cup winning squads in 2003 and 2007. She also helped the German national team capture the European crown in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009. As a professional for FSV Frankfurt and 1. FFC Frankfurt, she won nine league titles, ten domestic cups, and three women's UCL crowns.


"I don't know how many times I've signed the book," Prinz remarked with a laugh, "but it's been a lot."

The mood steadily improved as the current team took their turns entering their signatures while photographers flashed their cameras. Lina Magull and Giulia Gwinn in particular seemed moved by the occasion. With mayor Peter Feldmann (SPD) off on vacation, city sports minister Mike Josef led the girls out onto the balcony. After letting head-coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and some members of team speak first, Josef rallied the crowd with the glib words of a football fan.

"A game may have been lost, but the German national team remain winners of the Euros," Josef remarked, "They just played damn good football. That you for showing the spirit of a team and of fighters. Thank you for your commitment to fair play and exemplifying values that aren't always present in football."

"We wanted to be European champions," Voss-Tecklenburg noted in her remarks, "But if our great performances have helped us play our way into people's hearts, then we're happy to be the winners of hearts."

"Overwhelming," is the word Magull chose to describe the reception to the ARD microphones afterward, "We really didn't expect it to be so full here. I'm a little bit misty-eyed. This makes us feel wonderfully appreciated."

It can be confirmed that the German did generate record enthusiasm for their sport within the Bundesrepublik this past month. The fixtures broke broadcast viewing records for women's football. Germany's ZDF reported a 50 percent market share of over 12 million viewers for the semi-final victory over France. ARD, the country's public broadcaster, reports that nearly 18 million tuned in for the Final yesterday.

These figures eclipse previous records set in 2011, when the Women's World Cup was actually held in Germany. Such figures do not even take into account those who viewed the games on Germany's main footballing streaming service, DAZN. Additionally, virtually all major town squares and village pubs across the nation also took advantage of the long-awaited end of COVID restrictions to host well-attended public viewings. Those figures obviously cannot be accurately determined.

German football enthusiasts do happen to expect a lot from their women's team, in part because the public remains somewhat spoiled by the uninterrupted two-decade long string of six-straight European Championships that took place during Prinz's heyday. Entering the tournament, the skepticism among football commentators oozed off essentially every piece.

On today's German editorial pages, however, most every German footballing journalist lauded the team for exceeding the expectations of the country. As a general rule, the citizens of the Bundesrepublik expect only the semi-finals in major international tournaments. Anything past this phase of a tournament is considered a bonus.

The German women's national team will get an excellent opportunity to parlay the tailwind of interest in their sport during next summer's Women's World Cup in Australia/New Zealand. Thanks to all the deferments associated with the global pandemic, the next women's Euro is only three years away. The German, Dutch, and Belgian footballing FAs are currently partnering in a bid to co-host the 2027 Women's World Cup.



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