The reigning world champions have always started among the favourites for the FIFA Women’s World Cup at this level, but have only actually claimed the trophy once. Simone Laudehr and Melanie Behringer, now regulars for the senior side, led the Germans to glory at Thailand 2004. Otherwise, the record reads one quarter-final appearance and third place on two occasions, most recently at Chile 2008.
As FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup hosts, coach Maren Meinert’s side will almost by definition be genuine contenders for the crown. However, the same team were surprisingly eliminated at the group stage of the UEFA Women's U-19 Championship 2009 in Belarus. Notwithstanding that upset, former international Meinert believes her players are capable of attractive football, and now have enough individual and tactical maturity to make it to the final. In terms of potential, experts agree that this German generation rates among the world elite.
“It’s a chance we simply have to take,” said Meinert, hoping her team can turn on the style and bring the crowds to life a full year ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011. Spearheaded by playmaking prodigy Dzsenifer Marozsan, already in the limelight once as winner of the adidas Golden Shoe at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2008 in New Zealand, and roared on by the home crowd, the German camp is quietly confident of going all the way this time.
Facts and figures
Anja Mittag, Linda Bresonik (2002), Melanie Behringer, Simone Laudehr, Celia Okoyino da Mbabi (2004), Kim Kulig, Nicole Banecki (2008)
Stefanie Mirlach (defence), Marina Hegering (midfield), Dzsenifer Marozsan (midfield)
3 – Germany have missed out on the final in three of the four editions of the tournament to date, with the USA proving the stumbling block on all three occasions.