A tight affair looms in the decider of the 2013 women's European Championship final, as Germany vies for a sixth consecutive title. Revenge will be the motivation for opponents Norway.
Sweet six or a changing of the guard? It is the question to be answered when Germany meet Norway in the 2013 Women's Euro final in Sweden on Sunday.
At risk for the former is the death of almost two dominant decades at the tournament. A win, meanwhile, would make it six consecutive Euro titles for Germany. Just how much "die Nationalelf" learned from their group stage struggles will play a key part in their bid to do just that.
Courtesy of goal difference, Germany only just edged past Iceland to automatically qualify for the quarterfinals from Group B. Among their group matches was a 1-0 loss to Norway; a result that ended an unbeaten run of 17 years - or 59 matches - in the women's Euro finals.
The result raised doubts over whether the side could recover to mount a title defence, and brought with it criticism defender Annike Krahn labeled "justified".
An inability to turn possession into goals in that match, as well as Norway's threat on the counter-attack in their group meeting, is likely to occupy the thoughts of German coach Silvia Neid ahead of the final. While her side's performances have improved as the tournament has progressed, finding a more ready route to goal will be the chief concern.
In their triumph in the 2009 edition, Germany found the back of the net 21 times in just six matches. In England four years earlier, they averaged three goals a game. They have found it far tougher in 2013, scoring five goals in as many matches. It indicates that, while still possessing firepower in Malmo veteran Anja Mittag and 1. FFC Frankfurt duo Celia Okoyino da Mbabi and Dzsenifer Marozsan, a true heiress to retired goal queen Birgit Prinz has not yet been found.
Wealth of experience
Things will hardly get easier against a Norway side that, having ridden its luck through consecutive penalty shootout victories before the final, has also conceded on just three occasions all tournament. It is a squad boasting a generation of experience and a host of players out for revenge after Norway's semifinal exit from the 2009 tournament at the hands of Germany. Led by reliable captain Ingvild Stensland (127 international caps) and goalscoring creator Solveig Gulbrandsen (167), Norway have the level heads for such an occasion.
But so do Germany. Captain and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer - set for a club move to Australian outfit Brisbane Roar for the 2012-13 season - and most of her team-mates boast a host of big-tournament experience.
An end to their dominance of the tournament will not be a prospect relished by Germany. Having regained their composure after the group stage, that alone could be the difference at Solna's Friends Arena on Sunday.