The German footballers started the European Championship qualification with a long weak performance and a dull win against Austria.

The national team of interim national coach Horst Hrubesch was only able to convince at times after the break in the 3:2 (1:2) on Friday evening in Linz. Eileen Campbell from SC Freiburg gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with a brace (9th and 16th minutes). Munich’s Klara Bühl also scored twice (39th/49th) for the European vice-champions before captain Giulia Gwinn converted an extremely controversial penalty to make it 3-2 (63rd).

Five weeks after the 2-0 victory in the Netherlands, which was decisive for participation in the Olympics, the German selection did not play at all for a long time. The appearance in front of 7,500 spectators was even reminiscent of last year’s World Cup debacle in Australia. After the break, however, the DFB women went to work more energetically. On Tuesday (6:10 p.m./ZDF) they will meet Iceland in Aachen. Another group opponent on the way to the 2025 European Championship in Switzerland is Poland. The top two groups qualify directly.

For the first time, Giulia Gwinn from FC Bayern led the national team onto the pitch as Alexandra Popp’s representative. In addition to the regular captain, defense chief Marina Hegering (both VfL Wolfsburg) was also missing due to injuries. Munich’s Lea Schüller replaced Popp as a striker, while Frankfurt’s Sara Doorsoun defended for Hegering in the back four.

In coach Irene Fuhrmann’s Austria team, who had to do without Sarah Zadrazil and Katharina Naschenweng from FC Bayern, all players in the starting eleven had already played in the German Bundesliga or are currently playing there. At the home premiere against their neighbors, the 17th in the FIFA world rankings started with determination and took advantage of the first chance: Campbell beat Doorsoun and Kathrin Hendrich and gave goalkeeper Merle Frohms no chance. After a free kick from Frankfurt’s Barbara Dunst, Campbell even headed in to make it 2-0.

The DFB women ran a lot behind against strong Austrians. No trace of self-confidence. Sydney Lohmann and the recently highly praised Sjoeke Nüsken from Chelsea FC hardly managed to build up the game. After a bad pass from Hendrich in his own penalty area, Campbell had the empty goal in front of him but slipped.

With anger in his stomach and after an energetic conquest of the ball, Bühl scored the next goal with a precise shot. After the break, Hrubesch brought in offensive player Laura Freigang – and Bibiane Schulze Solano from Athletic Bilbao. The 25-year-old with dual citizenship was even nominated for the selection of the eventual world champions from Spain at the beginning of 2023, but was not used. With her debut, the defensive specialist has now established herself for Germany.

Bühl once again quickly equalized after the restart following a pass from Nüsken. Freigang from Frankfurt then took a penalty against goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger, which Gwinn, as usual, confidently converted to take the lead. A video referee was not used in the game and the penalty decision was controversial. Shortly afterwards, the right-back almost scored an own goal. Freigang then missed the 4:2.