Germany’s squad for the 2013 Women’s European Championships may look a little more youthful than previous vintages, but that doesn’t disguise its quality.
The winners of seven of the last 10 Euros, and all of the last five, the Germans head to Sweden intent on improving on what is already the best record in the game on their continent – and second only to the USA on a global scale.
Challengers to what Die Nationalelf will quite rightly regard as their title might point to the absences of six players through injury, but coach Silvia Neid will still be able to call upon the service of eight women who played under her when Germany last won this trophy in Finland four years ago.
Add in a sprinkling of the youthful talent which helped the Germans to the European under-19 title in 2011 and the final of the under-20 World Cup last year, and it is easy to see why they have been installed as the 11/8 favourites before the tournament starts on Wednesday.
No longer calling upon the services of the prolific Birgit Prinz, who retired after the 2011 World Cup, Germany will instead be looking to the goals of the 25-year-old Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, who found the net a record 17 times in qualifying.
The SC 07 Bad Neuenahr forward thrives on the service of midfielders Fatmire Bajramaj and Dzsenifer Marozsan, and the trio will be looking to impress in Germany’s first match against the Netherlands on Thursday, for which they are 1/6 favourites.
The Dutch aren’t expected to figure in the latter stages of the tournament, with France most likely to seriously test the favourites.
The 7/2 French came fourth in the last World Cup and at the Olympics, and can boast several players from Champions League runners-up Lyon.
It is the Germans who have the greater international pedigree though, and they’ll be seeking to prove that in Sweden.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date publication