Klara Bühl’s opening goal was impressively powerful. The left winger moved slightly inwards just before the penalty area and thundered the ball into the goal with her right foot. Icelandic goalkeeper Telma Ivarsdottir didn’t even try to dive into the corner. Bühl’s shot was too hard and placed. Like Arjen Robben once on the right side for Bayern, Bühl had put the German women’s national team in the lead in the Nations League game with her successful individual action against Iceland. And set the tone: After the 2-0 defeat against Denmark in the first Nations League game, the DFB women did better in Bochum: They won 4-0 against weakened Icelanders and kept their chance Olympic qualification.

Even if Iceland is not one of the top nations in women’s football: the manner of Bühl’s beautiful goal and the clear victory convey the image of a team that has a determined goal in mind. This was urgently needed after the disappointing (and embarrassing) early exit from the World Cup and the defeat against Denmark. The DFB in particular would have had a much more heated debate about the future of the women’s national team than before. The reason: national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg called in sick after the World Cup. What illness she has is unknown. The DFB remains silent. But Voss-Tecklenburg apparently suffers from some kind of exhaustion syndrome. At least that’s how her husband’s words can be interpreted. After the World Cup she was “physically and mentally weak” and was now on sick leave “for an indefinite period,” he said.

The team is also determined regarding the question of female coaches. The national players around captain Alexandra Popp are calling on the DFB to end the hanging game. “It is now time for a decision to be made and for there to be clarity,” said midfielder Lena Lattwein after the game against Iceland. “It’s not a good situation for us that we don’t have any certainty.” Other players made similar comments. Popp said: “Of course we need clarity as to exactly what will happen next. We will enter into discussions with the DFB.”

The association is playing for time on the issue because it is in a dilemma. Under no circumstances does DFB President Bernd Neuendorf want to be accused of parting ways with Voss-Tecklenburg too quickly and cold-heartedly dumping her without taking her illness into account. On the other hand, the DFB can’t wait much longer. A national team cannot and should not remain leaderless for too long, especially when important games are coming up. Qualifying for the Olympic tournament is the next big sporting goal. The national players made this clear in their statements.

The players did not give the impression that they were 100 percent behind Voss-Tecklenburg. Popp’s comments before the Denmark game sounded rather sober. “We hope that Martina will get well again and be back fully recovered at some point. Everything else will be decided by the association and not us,” she said. This can also be formulated differently.

The poor performances at the World Cup are definitely having an impact and there is a lot to work on. Even assistant coach Britta Carlson spoke of “a backpack” that the team carried around with them. For example, why were so many national team players in Australia completely out of shape? There should be conflicts in the team that are not clearly moderated. The players from Eintracht Frankfurt should feel disadvantaged compared to the Wolfsburg and Bayern blocks.

The debate is gaining momentum and the DFB knows it. Therefore, it is said that the association wants to make a decision by the international matches against Wales and Iceland (second leg) at the end of October. The “Bild” newspaper reported that Stefan Kuntz, who most recently worked as Turkey’s national coach, would be a candidate if Voss-Tecklenburg did not continue. The 60-year-old was relieved of his duties in Turkey just a few days ago. The German Football Association did not comment on the report. “I have no information about this,” said a spokeswoman.

Sources: DPA, “Frankfurter Rundschau”, ZDF, “Bild”