The German national team is one of the most successful in women's football. They are the two-time reigning world champions, having won the 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. Germany is the only nation which has won both the men's and the women's World Cup. The team has won six of the nine UEFA European Championships, claiming the last four titles in a row. Germany has won three bronze medals at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, finishing third in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Birgit Prinz holds the record for most appearances and is the team's all time leading goalscorer. Prinz has also set international records: she has received the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times and is the overall top goalscorer at the Women's World Cup.
Women's football was long met with scepticism in Germany and official matches were banned by the DFB until 1970. However, the popularity of the women's national football team has grown since the team won their first World Cup title. They were chosen as Germany's Sports Team of the Year in 2003. Silvia Neid has been the team's head coach since 2005, succeeding Tina Theune-Meyer after nine years as her assistant. As of September 2008, Germany is ranked No. 2 in the FIFA Women's World Rankings.
While other football associations had already formed official women's national teams in the 1970s, the DFB long remained uninvolved in women's football. In 1981, DFB official Horst R. Schmidt was invited to send a team to the unofficial women's football world championship. Schmidt accepted the invitation but hid the fact that West Germany had no women's national team at the time. To avoid humiliation, the DFB sent the German club champions Bergisch Gladbach 09, who went on to win the tournament. The DFB now saw a need for action and the women's national team was founded in 1982. DFB president Hermann Neuberger appointed Gero Bisanz, an instructor at the Cologne Sports College, to set up the team.
In September 1982, Bisanz organised two scouting training courses from which he selected a squad of 16 players. The team's first international match took place on 10 November 1982. Following the tradition of the men’s team, Switzerland was chosen as West Germany's first opponent. Doris Kresimon scored the first international goal in the 25th minute. In the second half, 18-year-old Silvia Neid contributed two goals to the 5–1 victory; Neid later became the assistant coach in 1996 and the head coach in 2005.
With five draws and one defeat, West Germany failed to qualify for the inaugural 1984 European Championship, finishing third in the qualifying group. In the beginning, Bisanz's primary objective was to close the gap to the Scandinavian countries and Italy – then the strongest teams in Europe. He emphasized training in basic skills and the need for an effective youth programme. Starting in 1985, Bisanz increasingly called-up younger players, but at first had little success with this concept, as West Germany again failed to qualify for the 1987 European Championship finals.
Undefeated and without conceding a goal, the German team qualified for the European Championship for the first time in 1989; the tournament was played on home soil in West Germany. The semi-final against Italy was the first international women's football match shown live on German television. The game was decided by a penalty shootout, in which goalkeeper Marion Isbert saved three penalty kicks and scored the winning penalty herself. On 2 July 1989 in Osnabrück, West Germany played Norway in the final. Before a crowd of 22,000, they beat favourites Norway and won 4–1 with goals from Ursula Lohn, Heidi Mohr and Angelika Fehrmann. This victory marked the team's first international title.
After German reunification, the East German football association joined the DFB. The East German women's national football team had played only one official international match, losing 0–3 to Czechoslovakia in a friendly match on 9 May 1990. The unified German team defended their title successfully at the 1991 European Championship. After winning all games in the qualifying group, Germany again met Italy in the semi-final, this time winning 3–0. On 14 July 1991, the German team once more faced Norway in the final. The game went to extra time, during which Heidi Mohr and Silvia Neid scored for Germany and secured the 3–1 victory.
In November 1991, Germany participated in the first Women's World Cup in China. Following victories over Nigeria, Taiwan and Italy, the German team reached the quarter-final without conceding a single goal. Silvia Neid scored the first German World Cup goal on 17 November 1991 against Nigeria. Germany won the quarter-final against Denmark 2–1 after extra time, but lost 2–5 in the semi-final to the United States, who went on to win the tournament. Following a 0–4 defeat in the third-place match against Sweden, Germany finished fourth in the tournament.
The German team failed to defend their title at the 1993 European Championship, suffering a semi-final defeat to Italy in a penalty shootout, and later losing 1–3 against Denmark in the third-place playoff. Despite the disappointing result, new talents such as Steffi Jones, Maren Meinert and Silke Rottenberg made their tournament debut and later became key players for the German team.
In 1995, Germany won its third European Championship. After winning all qualification matches, scoring 55 goals, the German team defeated England 6–2 over two legs in the semi-final. Germany met Sweden in the final, which was played at the Fritz Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on 26 March 1995. The Swedish team managed to score early, but Germany came back to win 3–2 with goals from Maren Meinert, Birgit Prinz and Bettina Wiegmann.
At the 1995 Women's World Cup in Sweden, the German team lost against the Scandinavian hosts, but still succeeded in winning their group by beating Japan and Brazil. Germany won the quarter-final against England 3–0, and defeated China 1–0 with a late goal by Bettina Wiegmann in the semi-final. On 18 June 1995 in Stockholm, the German team appeared in their first Women's World Cup final. Facing Norway, they lost the match 0–2, but as runners-up achieved their best World Cup result until then.
Women’s football was first played as an Olympic sport at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Bettina Wiegmann scored the first Olympic goal in the opening match against Japan, which Germany won 3–2. After losing their second group game against Norway 2–3, and drawing with Brazil 1–1, Germany was eliminated, finishing third in the group with four points from three matches. Head coach Gero Bisanz resigned after the tournament and his assistant since 1983, Tina Theune-Meyer, took over as the new national coach. Silvia Neid ended her playing career and was appointed the new assistant coach.
The 1997 European Championship was the first test for new coach Theune-Meyer. Following a defeat against Norway, Germany finished second in the qualifying group and only secured qualification by beating Iceland in a relegation play-off. After drawing with Italy and Norway, a victory over Denmark in the last group game saw the German team go through to the knockout stage. They beat Sweden 1–0 in the semi-final, and on 12 July 1997, claimed their fourth European championship with a 2–0 win over Italy, with goals from Sandra Minnert and Birgit Prinz.
At the 1999 Women's World Cup in the United States, the German team also failed to qualify directly, but managed to beat the Ukraine in a qualifying play-off. Germany started their World Cup campaign by drawing with Italy and winning 6–0 over Mexico. In the last group game, Germany drew 3–3 against Brazil; by conceding a last minute equalizer, Germany failed to win the group and subsequently had to face the hosts in the quarter-final. With 54,642 people in attendance, among them U.S. President Bill Clinton, the crowd at the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium was the biggest the German team had ever played in front of. Despite leading twice, they lost 2–3 to the eventual World Cup winners.
Germany competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics, winning all three group games against Australia, Brazil and Sweden. The German team dominated the semi-final against Norway, but lost the game 0–1 after an own goal by Tina Wunderlich in the 80th minute. They beat Brazil 2–0 in the third place match with goals from Birgit Prinz and Renate Lingor, and won the bronze medal. It was the first Olympic medal for the German Football Associations since 1988 when the men's team also won bronze.
In 2001, Germany hosted the European Championship. Following victories over Sweden, Russia and England in the group stage, the German team beat Norway 1–0 in the semi-final courtesy of a diving header by Sandra Smisek. On 7 July 2001 in Ulm, they met Sweden in the final, which was played in heavy rain. The game was scoreless after 90 minutes and went to extra time, where Claudia Müller scored a golden goal and secured the fifth European title for Germany.
At the 2003 Women's World Cup in the United States, Germany was drawn in a group with Canada, Japan and Argentina. After winning all three group games, the German team defeated Russia 7–1 in the quarter-final, which set up another clash with the United States. Germany's Kerstin Garefrekes scored after 15 minutes and goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg made several key saves. In the dying minutes of the semi-final, Maren Meinert and Birgit Prinz sealed the 3–0 win. On 12 October 2003, Germany met Sweden in the World Cup final in Los Angeles. The Scandinavians went ahead before half time, but Maren Meinert equalized shortly after the break. The game went to extra time, where Nia Künzer headed the winning golden goal in the 98th minute to claim Germany's first Women's World Cup title. Birgit Prinz was honoured as the tournament's best player and top goalscorer.
With wins over China and Mexico, the German team finished first in their group at the 2004 Summer Olympics. They beat Nigeria 2–1 in the quarter-final, but suffered a 1–2 semi-final loss to the United States after extra time. In the third place match, Germany defeated Sweden 1–0 with a goal by Renate Lingor, winning the teams's second Olympic bronze medal.
The 2005 European Championship was held in England. With wins over Norway, Italy and France in Round 1, the German team advanced to the semi-final, where they defeated Finland 4–1. On 19 June 2005, they met Norway for the third time in the European championship final. Germany won 3–1 with goals from Inka Grings, Renate Lingor and Birgit Prinz and added a sixth European title. Head coach Tina Theune-Meyer stepped down after the tournament and her assistant Silvia Neid took over as national coach. In 2006, Germany won the annual Algarve Cup for the first time.
As reigning world champion, Germany played the opening game at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China, outclassing Argentina 11–0. After a goalless draw against England and a 2–0 win over Japan, the German team defeated North Korea 3–0 in the quarter-final. They beat Norway by the same result in the semi-final, with goals from Kerstin Stegemann, Martina Müller and a Norwegian own goal. On 30 September 2007, Germany faced Brazil in the World Cup final in Shanghai. Birgit Prinz put Germany in front after half time and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer saved a penalty by Brazilian Marta. Simone Laudehr scored a second goal after 86 minutes, which sealed the German 2–0 victory. Germany was the first team to successfully defend the Women's World Cup title. With 14 goals, Prinz became the tournament's overall top goalscorer.
In a replay of the 2007 World Cup final, the German team drew 0–0 with Brazil in the opening game at the 2008 Summer Olympics. They then beat both Nigeria and North Korea to advance to the quarter-final, where they defeated Sweden 2–0 after extra time. In the semi-final, Germany again met Brazil. Birgit Prinz scored in the 10th minute, but the German team lost 1–4 after conceding three goals to Brazilian counter-attacks in the second half. They beat Japan 2–0 for the bronze medal, with Fatmire Bajramaj scoring both goals. The third consecutive semi-final loss at the Olympics was seen as a disappointment by both the players and the German press. The team's overall performance and head coach Silvia Neid were harshly criticised in the media.
|1982–1996||127||83||17||27||65.35||1984 European Championship – failed to qualify |
1987 European Championship – failed to qualify
1989 European Championship – champion
1991 European Championship – champion
1991 Women's World Cup – fourth place
1993 European Championship – fourth place
1995 European Championship – champion
1995 Women's World Cup – runner-up
1996 Summer Olympics – group stage
|1996–2005||135||93||18||24||68.89||1997 European Championship – champion |
1999 Women's World Cup – quarter-final
2000 Summer Olympics – bronze medal
2001 European Championship – champion
2003 Women's World Cup – champion
2004 Summer Olympics – bronze medal
2005 European Championship – champion
|2005–present||55||40||7||8||72.73|| 2007 Women's World Cup – champion |
2008 Summer Olympics – bronze medal
|Weil am Rhein||3||1991−1999|
The German national football team has no national stadium. Like the men, the women's team play their home matches in different stadiums throughout the country. As of September 2008, they have played in 84 different German cities. Most home games have been held in Osnabrück and Ulm with five matches each, followed by Kaiserslautern, Koblenz, Lüdenscheid, Rheine, Siegen and Weil am Rhein with three games. The first home match in former East Germany was played in Aue in May 1991.
In the 1980s and 1990s, home matches were mostly played in smaller towns with no professional football clubs. As the team became more successful, especially after the World Cup win in 2003, the number of spectators rose accordingly. Today, the team usually plays in stadiums with 10,000 to 25,000 seats. The ten largest German cities have only hosted three international matches. The team have played once in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg, while Bremen, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart have never hosted an international match of the women's team.
Outside Germany, they have played the most games in Faro, Portugal, and Guangzhou, China (six matches each), the host cities of the annual Algarve Cup and the Four Nations Tournament respectively. They have also played four times in Minneapolis in the United States.
The record attendance for Germany was 54,642 in the 1999 Women's World Cup quarter-final against the United States at the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Landover. On home soil, the team's crowd record dates back to the 1989 European Championship final, when they played Norway in front of 22,000 spectators in Osnabrück.
The German women's national football team wears white shirts with black shorts and white socks, following the tradition of the German men's team – black and white are the colours of Prussia. From the neck down the shirt is decorated with red and golden stripes. The current change kit is red with black and golden stripes, white shorts and red socks. In the past, Germany also used green shirts with white shorts and green socks as the away kit.
The women's national team originally played with the emblem of the German men's team, a variation of the DFB logo with the Federal Eagle of Germany (Bundesadler) and three stars at the top for each World Cup title. Since their first Women's World Cup win in 2003, the team displays its own World Cup titles; initially with one star, and since 2007, with two stars at the top of the emblem. In accordance with the rules of the International Olympic Committee, Germany does not wear its official uniform with the logo of the German Football Association while competing at the Summer Olympics. Instead, the DFB badge is replaced by the coat of arms of Germany. Like all DFB squads, the women's national team is supplied by Adidas, which had provided a specifically designed female football jersey since 1999. The team's main sponsor is the German confectionery producer Katjes.
The 2003 Women's World Cup title marked the breakthrough for the women’s national football team in Germany. The final was watched by 10.48 million viewers on German television (a 33.2 percent market share) and the German team was welcomed home by almost 10,000 fans at Frankfurt's city hall. Later that year, they were honoured as the 2003 German Sports Team of the Year. Since 2005, almost all of the women’s national football team's matches have been shown live on German television.
The final of the 2007 Women's World Cup was seen by 9.05 million television viewers (a 50.5 percent market share). After the team returned to Germany, they were celebrated by a crowd of 20,000 in Frankfurt. In December 2007, all players of the World Cup squad received the Silberne Lorbeerblatt (Silver Laurel Leaf), the highest state decoration for athletes in Germany. National coach Silvia Neid was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon by German president Horst Köhler.
In 2008, the team's home matches had an average attendance of 14,605. In a survey of German football fans, 65 percent of the male and 62 percent of the female respondents said they were interested in women's football. However, this popularity is mostly limited to international matches. Although the number of spectators in the women's Bundesliga has more than doubled since 2003, the average attendance in the 2007-08 season (887) was still less than three percent of that of the men's Bundesliga (38,612).
Today, women's football is socially accepted in Germany, although one of the main points of criticism remains the alleged lack of quality compared to the men’s game. The German women’s national team has played several exhibition matches against male teams, most notably losing 0–3 to the VfB Stuttgart Under-17 squad in preparation for the 2003 World Cup. Most German players dismiss comparisons between the quality of men's and women's football; Renate Lingor has said they are "two entirely different sports". Players such as Simone Laudehr, Ariane Hingst and Melanie Behringer have stated that men’s football is played at a much faster pace, but also has more interruptions and brutal tackling than the women's game. Linda Bresonik has said she generally prefers to watch men's football.
The squad called-up for the 2008 Summer Olympics (Olympic squads include 18 players, compared to 23 at other major football tournaments) was:
The title of Germany’s highest goalscorer is also held by Prinz. She scored her first goal in July 1994 against Canada and since then has scored 122 goals (averaging 0.65 goals per game). Heidi Mohr, as well as being the second-highest scorer, is also the most prolific with 83 goals coming from 104 games (averaging 0.80 goals per game). Two players share the record for goals scored in one match: Conny Pohlers scored five goals in October 2001 against Portugal, and Inka Grings scored five times in February 2004, again facing Portugal. Silvia Neid, the current German national coach, is the fourth highest goalscorer with 48 goals in 111 games.
The largest margin of victory achieved by Germany is 13–0 against Portugal during a European Championship qualifying game in November 2003; it was the first match following the 2003 World Cup win. The record defeat, a 0–6 deficit against the United States, occurred during a friendly match in March 1996.
Silke Rottenberg has the most appearances for a goalkeeper with 126 caps and 67 games without conceding a goal. Current goalkeeper Nadine Angerer is second, with 71 games (43 without conceding a goal). Bettina Wiegmann holds the record of 14 goals from penalty kicks; Renate Lingor comes in second with 8 goals. Tina Wunderlich scored the team's only own goal in the semi-final of the 2000 Summer Olympics against Norway; it was the game's only goal.
The German team also holds several international records. In 2007, they were the first to win two consecutive Women's World Cup titles and they achieved the biggest win in tournament history by beating Argentina 11–0. Germany is also the only team (men's and women's game) to win the World Cup without conceding a goal and the only country to win both the men's and the women's World Cup. With 14 goals, Prinz became the overall top goalscorer at the Women's World Cup in 2007, and she is the only woman to have received the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times.
Most capped players
|1984||Did not Qualify||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|1987||Did not Qualify||–||–||–||–||–||–|