The German national women’s soccer team is celebrating the “cool year-end” that coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg wished for. Portugal is also too weak and Lea Schüller scores again.

Made it from an exhausting game in the Algarve, but overjoyed: The German soccer players have made a giant step towards the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg prevailed in the World Cup qualification against Portugal on Tuesday evening in Faro with 3: 1 (3: 1) and are now five points ahead of the toughest pursuers as the leaders in Group H.

In front of just 500 spectators in the Estádio de São Luís, goalscorer Lea Schüller from Bayern Munich (15th minute), Wolfsburg-based Svenja Huth (23rd) and Chelsea professional Melanie Leupolz (28th) met for the guests.

Sixth win in sixth game

“We got into the game well, scored three goals, then unnecessarily let the opponent come back into the game. We made life a little difficult,” said midfielder Leupolz after her 75th international match. “We are happy to have six wins in six games in the World Cup and I think we can be proud of that.”

The DFB selection landed the sixth victory in the sixth game on the way to the World Cup. The clearly inferior Portuguese came through a penalty caused by goalkeeper Merle Frohms to mean 1: 3 by Carole da Silva Costa (34th).

The second leg against Portugal is on April 9, and Serbia is on April 12. Only the first in the group qualify directly for the final tournament. The second play in the playoffs for two more places.

Determined DFB women

After the last 8-0 win against Turkey in Braunschweig, the world champions of 2003 and 2007 were challenged this time more, but played determinedly forward in the first half. For the first time after a long break from injury, Bayern Munich’s chief defender Marina Hegering (31) was in the starting line-up. The DFB selection quickly lost their respect in the early stages and after two missed chances by Klara Bühl, Schüller scored her 23rd goal in the 34th international match.

When conceding a penalty, the regular goalkeeper Frohms had bad luck: The ball first hit the post and then from the Frankfurt’s back into the net. After the break, the German selection struggled for a long time against an increasingly aggressive opponent. Substitute Dzsenifer Marozsan from US club OL Reign tried to give the game more structure, but it remained disheveled. The 19-year-old Jule Brand from Hoffenheim gave away the 4: 1 (76th) as a joker.

Endurance test in England in February

Where the Voss-Tecklenburg team really stands internationally will be shown in England in February. In an invitation tournament, the opponents are the host team, Spain with players from the premier class winners FC Barcelona and Olympic champions Canada. “This tournament is a good opportunity to put some real endurance tests at the start of the European Championship,” said the national coach.

In the European Championship preliminary round in England in July, the record European champions will also meet Spain, Denmark and Finland. The German team missed the summer games in Tokyo due to the quarter-finals against Sweden at the 2019 World Cup in France.