For the first time, the German footballers will go into the European Championship qualifier against Austria with Giulia Gwinn from FC Bayern Munich as captain.

The 24-year-old will replace the injured captain Alexandra Popp on Friday (8.30 p.m./ARD) in Linz. With this decision, interim national coach Horst Hrubesch also underlines the upcoming change for the DFB women.

Popp’s previous deputy, Svenja Huth, recently resigned from the national team. Despite suffering two cruciate ligament tears in recent years, Gwinn has already played 41 international matches and is one of the most important regulars as a right-back. The future Munich player Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg) will now be the deputy captain for the next game on Tuesday (6.10 p.m./ZDF) in Aachen against Iceland, as the DFB announced. The 22-year-old plays a key role for the DFB women.

Gwinn: “It’s part of putting your finger in the wound”

Gwinn made her fundamental demands for a leadership role clear in an interview with the Bayern club magazine last week: “I want to take responsibility and embody that,” she said. “If you duck away, you don’t achieve anything.” After the defeat in the Nations League semi-finals in France, she publicly spoke of “scaredy football”. “I think it’s part of it to put your finger in the wound,” she said. Gwinn is also one of the most popular German players and has over 600,000 followers on Instagram.

In addition to Popp, defense chief Marina Hegering (both VfL Wolfsburg) is also missing against the Austria team. As for top scorer Popp, who celebrates her 33rd birthday on Saturday, it is unclear whether she will continue her DFB career beyond the Olympic Games in Paris until the 2025 European Championships in Switzerland. Hrubesch recently said on the question of who wears the armband in Linz: “Normally, I have always chosen the captain. I will talk to the girls and then decide who will be captain in the games .”

Given the fact that the soon-to-be 73-year-old is only allowed to take 18 players with him to the Olympics, the competition has intensified. Returnees such as Lina Magull (Inter Milan) and Felicitas Rauch (North Carolina Courage/USA), who moved abroad, are under special observation, as are offensive debutant Vivien Endemann (Wolfsburg) and defender Bibiane Schulze Solano from Athletic Bilbao.

Schulze Solano can play for Germany

The 25-year-old ex-Frankfurt native was even nominated for the selection of the eventual world champions from Spain at the beginning of 2023, but was not used. If Hrubesch lets her play now, she would be a permanent fixture for Germany, as they say. “She has everything: she has good height, she plays with body and has a good passing game – which is not surprising in Spain,” said the DFB coach about the newcomer with dual citizenship.

After qualifying for the Olympics, the vice-European champions approach the duel against Austria in a relaxed manner and full of anticipation. “I think this is a group that is interesting, but that is doable,” said Hrubesch and, with a view to the 2-0 win in the Netherlands that was decisive for Paris, said: “We have to continue where we last left off the way we played football. It won’t happen by itself.” Another group opponent is Poland.

Hrubesch’s successor in the starting blocks

In Aachen, Hrubesch’s successor Christian Wück, who will take over the DFB players after the summer games in Paris, could also sit in the stands for the first time. The coach of the male U17 world and European champions revealed in BR’s “Blickpunkt Sport” on Sunday evening that he doesn’t yet know any national players personally: “But of course I’m already fully involved in screening and scouting.”

The Austria team beat the German footballers 2-0 in the 2022 European Championship quarter-finals. The squad for Austria’s home premiere against Germany includes numerous Bundesliga players such as Nicole Billa and Julia Hickelsberger-Füller from TSG Hoffenheim as well as Verena Hanshaw, Virginia Kirchberger and Barbara Dunst from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, Sarah Zadrazil and Katharina Naschenweng from FC Bayern are out injured.