- Lena Goessling is a linchpin of the German national team
- Dreaming of FIFA Women’s World Cup glory after Olympic gold
- “Playing at a tournament or a World Cup is such a great feeling”
Germany versus Sweden is one of the marquee match-ups in women’s football, with only Norway (40), USA (35) and China PR (30) having faced off more times against Germany. And this Saturday will see the two European rivals face off for the 28th time, at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, before Germany then take on Japan in a friendly.
“We want to win both matches, that’s the objective we’ve set ourselves,” says Lena Goessling in an interview with FIFA.com. “They are two totally different opponents. Sweden are a very solid team who prefer playing the long ball, while Japan are very technically gifted.”
The 33-year-old has every reason to go into the matches brimming with confidence. Germany’s recent record is 19 wins for seven defeats and more impressively 11 victories and one loss in their last 12 matches, and they launched their FIFA Women’s World Cup™ year with a 1-0 win over France. “We know what the win over France was worth and also that we’ve still got plenty of scope to improve. We don’t feel under any pressure – we’re enjoying ourselves. We’re measuring up to two great teams and every player is looking forward to it.”
Goessling and her team-mates can also look forward to playing in front of a huge crowd. More than 30,000 tickets have been sold for the match against the Damlandslaget, with the Swedish fans set to turn the stadium into a sea of yellow. “That is bound to bring back memories,” says Goessling, who has plied her domestic trade with VfL Wolfsburg since 2011. “We played the final of EURO 2013 there against Norway in front of a capacity crowd. It was amazing.”
“You’ve got to look forward to an atmosphere like that. It’s not every day that you get that chance – much as we’d like to. I personally love playing in front of a crowd like that. It’s just so much fun.”
Along with Alexandra Popp and Dzsenifer Marozsan, Goessling is one of the linchpins of the German team. The midfielder has racked up 103 caps already and knows how it important it is in a Women’s World Cup year to have players with experience of this, the most prestigious of global tournaments. France will be Goessling’s third FIFA World Cup, but she does not see this as a reason to set herself apart from the rest of the group.
“The younger players have all come on so well – they grow up differently nowadays and are relatively experienced at an early stage. Of course I’m available to them if they have any questions but they are all so professional and have come so far that they don’t need that much help anymore,” she says.
“You can’t go into a tournament like this wet behind the ears, but at the same time, you need inexperienced, free-spirited players who come into it with no baggage. It’s important to have young and hungry players in the squad.”
The multiple Bundesliga winner believes that this squad has plenty of quality and just the right blend of players – so much so that the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament winner is hoping that her last big footballing dream will finally become a reality.
“Playing at a tournament or a World Cup is such a great feeling. And obviously it would be wonderful if I could fulfil my dream of becoming a world champion. But we also know that at a tournament, everything has to come together.
“You need to get off to a good start and then have that little bit of luck on your side that everyone talks about. You need to pick up momentum to be able to realise the dream. It’s a long and tough process.”