Tonight’s quarter-final clash at Brentford Community Stadium, kick-off 8pm, is sure to see these neighbours bring the party. From pop to TikTok, Ruby Malone highlights some things you might like to know about the spirited sides…Embed from Getty Images
Their first meeting’s been worth the wait
Germany and Austria have never met in a competitive women’s international fixture before, so this will be a first. Despite having always been in the shadow of the German giants, Austria outdid their noisy neighbours in Euro 2017, making it to the semi-finals and only going out on penalties to a strong Danish side. Germany crashed out at the quarter-final stage – had they made it through, they would have faced Austria. It just wasn’t meant to be until now!
This game could put friendships on the line!
These two squads know each other well and not just because they speak the same language – more than half of the Austrian squad plays in Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga! The players may be close in the club football world, but what’s certain is neither team will let that affect their game. Austria and Bayern Munich star Sarah Zadrazil would certainly be happy for her German friends to have a quiet game.
She told DW Sports: “I’m super happy that they’ve had such a good tournament because I’m also close friends with some of them… I think they have good team chemistry here at the tournament, but I’m also okay if they don’t show it on Thursday.”Embed from Getty Images
Jubilant Austria still mean Business
One of the heartening highlights off the pitch at this Euros was when a jubilant Austrian squad gatecrashed the post-match conference after their first win of the tournament over Northern Ireland. Player of the Match Barbara Dunst was speaking to the media when her team-mates congaed into the room, led by captain Viktoria Schnaderbeck, and proceeded to dance with the midfielder to Tiesto’s ‘The Business’. They repeated their humorous antics after the win over Norway that put them through to the quarter-finals, giving everyone a snippet of what tournament football is all about. This team spirit clearly translates onto the pitch, with the Austrians displaying camaraderie and unity throughout all their group games.
Freigang’s ‘tagging’ her Germany team-mates on TikTok
The Austrians aren’t the only ones injecting humour and light-hearted fun into their time off the pitch. A quick look at German forward Laura Freigang’s TikTok account will show you this. She has created multiple videos of the squad in their down-time, showing the playful side of a team that are serious contenders to win the tournament. One of the videos is titled ‘DFB Women and their problems’, in which Freigang labels Lena Oberdorf as “collects yellow cards”, Lina Magull as “knows only one hairstyle” and certainly doesn’t beat around the bush with Sara Doorsoun, choosing only one word: “old”. We’re sure this is water off a duck’s back for the 30-year-old and she’ll show the benefits of her experience on the pitch tonight!
It’s a battle of world-class goalkeepers
The level of goalkeeping in women’s football has historically been used by critics as a stick to beat the women’s game with. But this Euros has produced some brilliant goalkeeping displays, showing any remaining doubters that it’s all about investment and proper specialised coaching. Austria’s Manuela Zinsberger is one of the best goalkeepers at the tournament and has helped bring the position to the fore, pulling off some high-class saves to get her team to the quarter-finals. The Arsenal No.1 was the WSL’s 2021/22 Golden Glove winner, keeping the most clean sheets across the whole season. This may not intimidate the Germans as much as it could though, as they have their own first-rate goalkeeper behind them. Merle Frohms kept the most clean sheets in the Frauen-Bundesliga last season with Eintracht Frankfurt and even manages to keep Chelsea’s exceptional Ann-Katrin Berger out of the national team. With these two world-class players on the pitch, expect to see the future of women’s goalkeeping on display.
You can follow Ruby on Twitter @RubyGMalone