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Arnold Clark Cup

Germany head into Arnold Clark Cup with at least 17 players missing as Voss-Tecklenburg bemoans 'energy-sapping' last few days

17:34 SAST 2022/02/16
Martina Voss Tecklenburg Germany Women 2021
Star names like five-time Women's Champions League winner Dzsenifer Marozsan were already missing, but six more have now withdrawn from the squad

Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has detailed the “energy-sapping” build-up she and her team have endured ahead of the Arnold Clark Cup, with six players pulling out of her original squad picked for the tournament.

Voss-Tecklenburg is without “12 to 14 important players” in her selection, with the likes of Lyon's Dzsenifer Marozsan, Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz and Wolfsburg’s Alex Popp having already been out injured before she chose her team.

Indeed, the last few days have seen half a dozen more ruled out of the competition, which gets underway on Thursday when Germany face Spain, adding to the selection headache.

What has happened?

Germany’s squad already featured a handful of lesser-known faces due to the large proportion of injuries that Voss-Tecklenburg was aware of last week.

On Sunday, Svenja Huth (Covid-19), Lena Lattwein (illness) and Almuth Schult (quarantine) were all officially ruled out of the Arnold Clark Cup too. Four players were also identified as close contacts who had to test negative several times to be able to join the team for the tournament.

Two days later, it was announced that two of those - Tabea Wassmuth and Kathrin Hendrich - had tested positive for Covid-19 and would also miss the upcoming games. On Monday, Sjoeke Nuesken was also ruled out of the tournament due to a positive test.

Of the six players called up to replace these absentees, four are uncapped.

“The last few days have been quite energy-sapping, I've got to admit,” Voss-Tecklenburg told the media on Wednesday. “Throughout Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we were losing players practically by the minute.

“We knew before it was going to be difficult, either through injury or to Covid, so it's pretty serious. But having said that, it's unfortunate, though there's no way we can change things so I expect myself and my players to approach this situation with a solution-oriented state of mind.

“Come first thing next week, I think everybody on our team - and that goes for the coaching staff, the players, the admin and the support staff - will have something to take home in terms of new experiences and having overcome new challenges.

“We are missing 12 to 14 important players so it's only natural that the ones that we have called up will be getting more playing time and more minutes on the pitch than previously expected,” she added.

“Obviously, with new players, newcomers and these players given new roles, it all changes team statics, the very core of the team. That said, I think we will have a very good starting line-up tomorrow in the game against Spain.

“We also need personal feedback from players because do remember that the Wolfsburg players and Sara [Dabritz, of PSG], of course, will have weekend matches coming up right after this week, followed by many more midweek matches [in the Women’s Champions League] to end the season.

"It's a matter of looking from match to match and waiting for feedback from players and then determine starting line-ups on a match-to-match basis.”

Potential 30-year-old debutante in ‘special’ situation

One of the four uncapped additions of the last few days is Ramona Petzelberger, the 30-year-old having represented her country at youth level, but never senior level.

Asked what prompted her to call up the Aston Villa midfielder, Voss-Tecklenburg explained: “I've known her for quite a long time, in actual fact, since she was a teenager and we just thought to ourselves, 'Okay, who can help in this rather special situation?'

“We thought that, in addition to calling up young and uncapped players, it will be good idea to have a 30-year-old woman who's seen a lot [and] done a lot in our squad as well.

“We contacted her and, as it turned out, she was in Germany at the time on a parent visit and had nothing with her in the way of kit or anything. But that problem was soon solved, and she joined us for the first training on Tuesday. We're quite happy to have her with us today.”

Tickets to watch England, Germany, Spain and Canada play in the Arnold Clark Cup are available now. Matches are being broadcast live in the UK on ITV.

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