German hot-shots turn up the heat
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Mexican players crumpled on the pitch of the Dwight Yorke Stadium on Sunday night, suffering from a tournament-record 9-0 drubbing and the stifling Scarborough heat too. A few of the victorious Germans also hit the deck, unaccustomed as they are to what coach Ralf Peter calls “very complicated temperatures.” However, there were two girls wearing broad smiles and looking as fresh as a spring morning.

Kyra Malinowski and Lena Lotzen were last out of the changing room after what their coach described as the “perfect start to a tournament,” an unrelenting hammering of well outclassed Mexico. “It’s not every day that you score nine goals in a game of football,” enthused centre-forward Malinowski, tall and imposing compared to her diminutive partner out left, Lotzen, who shared her partner’s pride at the day’s performance. “Goals are what the game is all about; this result will do wonders for our confidence and motivation.”

Germany enter all women’s football competitions as clear favourites. That they finished third in the European qualifiers for Trinidad and Tobago 2010 was a shock to many. But their first performance in stifling tropical conditions has their loss to the Irish in qualifying looking like an aberration. With one game behind them the Germans are already looking potential winners, hoping to join up with their senior and U-20 sides who both currently reign as world champions.

We have to be realistic about the result; it’s not something you’ll have every day.
Lena Lotzen on Germany's 9-0 win over Mexico

If they manage to win their first U-17 title here in the Caribbean it will be in large part down to their three-pronged attack. Malinowski, who scored eight goals in two qualifying games, hit the net three times against Mexico, equalling pre-tournament darling Lena Petermann’s tally for the day. It looked as though Malinowski might have been in for a rough game at the outset, too, flubbing a simple header in the first minute. But she put the miss behind her with accurate strikes in the 42nd, 55th and 66th minutes. “There’s a danger in a big win,” said Malinowski, who plays for club side SG Essen-Schönebeck and is called the “real goal-getter in the team” by the coaching staff. “You can feel like you already won something and that can be trouble; we’ll need to put the game behind us and move on.”

Bayern Munich’s Lotzen, small and timid with bright eyes, is the clever creator to poachers Malinowski and Petermann. Occupying a wide-left position in the three-woman attack, she bamboozled two defenders before cutting inside and thundering home the German opener from distance to get the rout rolling after only four minutes. “We have to be realistic about the result; it’s not something you’ll have every day,” said Lotzen, scorer of two goals on the day and one away from completing a trio of hat-tricks. “It’s a great feeling to score, especially when it helps the team win, so I am thrilled with the way things have started for us.”

The German pair walked off wiping away light beads of sweat but smiling and joking as if they’d just finished up a casual training session, their monumental performance looming heavy in the wet air. From 31 shots in 90 minutes, they put 16 on goal and scored nine. All but one was scored by the three-woman German frontline. You can almost hear a collective gasp as the other title hopefuls consider what they’re up against.