National team: Olympics, coach, Popp: Lots of questions for the DFB women

A missed Olympic qualification by German footballers would be another horror scenario for the German Football Association.

National team: Olympics, coach, Popp: Lots of questions for the DFB women

A missed Olympic qualification by German footballers would be another horror scenario for the German Football Association. A lot depends on the selection of interim national coach Horst Hrubesch from the deciding game against the Netherlands in Heerenveen on Wednesday (8.45 p.m./ZDF).

An end to Paris, like the Summer Games in Tokyo, could also lead to resignations. And the coaching question would have to be clarified very quickly.

What are the chances of qualifying for the Olympics?

The game for third place in the Nations League against the Oranje team is the last chance to buy a ticket for the Olympic Games (July 26th to August 11th). “We are very aware of the situation and will prepare for it properly, both physically and emotionally,” says defense chief Marina Hegering. "Germany - Holland or Holland - Germany is always a very hot game - and that will be the case with us too." After the 1-2 defeat against France last Friday in Lyon, when their first Olympic chance was missed, the DFB women are under enormous pressure against the 2019 World Cup runners-up.

What personal consequences would a missed participation in the Olympics have?

Then the team would probably be facing upheaval. Captain Alexandra Popp had already expressed thoughts of resigning after the 2022 European Championships and 2023 World Cup. It is questionable whether the Wolfsburg woman, whose contract with VfL runs until 2025, will continue until the 2025 European Championships in Switzerland. "I've actually had these thoughts for a while now. Of course I'm still dealing with the topic to some extent," said the 32-year-old in a Sky interview, but emphasized: "There's no decision or anything else." The future of her club colleagues Hegering and Svenja Huth (both 33) is also open. Kathrin Hendrich (31) also belongs to the over-30 group.

What consequences would a missed participation in the Olympics have?

After the World Cup debacle in Australia, this would be another bitter setback for the DFB. Participation in the Olympics was “brutally important,” said Popp. The national team is also considered a figurehead for the Bundesliga, which is still fighting for improved conditions. Since 2016 - Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro - the two-time world champions and eight-time European champions have not won a title, even if they caused a boom as runners-up at the European Championships in 2022. And this season, for the first time, no German club is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

What about the successor to interim national coach Horst Hrubesch?

The 72-year-old quits when games are missed. If the German national team is in Paris, Hrubesch will still look after them there. The new DFB director Nia Künzer sees the association prepared for all scenarios, but has not yet presented a new national coach.

“The person simply has to – to put it stupidly – ​​thrive for this position,” said Popp about the requirements profile. It “doesn’t matter” whether it’s a man or a woman. The new guy must come with a “clear plan,” which was “missing to some extent” last year. Of course she also has a preferred candidate. “Jürgen Klopp,” said Popp in the Sky interview, laughing about Liverpool FC’s outgoing star coach, “I would celebrate that, I have to say.”

The national goalkeeper Almuth Schult, currently without a club, recently brought a celebrity into the conversation with a smug remark: "There is still a coach who is committed to the DFB and is under contract with the DFB. If you don't find anyone, maybe it will be Hansi Flick," she said 33-year-old ex-Wolfsburg resident as ARD expert. Flick was released as men's national coach last September.

How great is the pressure to act at the DFB?

Huge - if participation in the Summer Games doesn't work out. Hrubesch's successor would not have any test games either, as the European Championship qualification for Switzerland 2025 will be drawn on March 5th. It starts with the first two match days from April 3rd to 9th. The schedule afterwards is also tight: the group games will be finished by July 16th, just ten days before the start of the Olympic Games. Seen this way, taking part in the Olympics with Hrubesch on the bench until then would give the DFB a lot of breathing room.

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