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Voss-Tecklenburg dreaming of World Cup title

November 30, 2018

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg never managed to win the World Cup during her international playing career. As the new head coach of the German women’s team, she’s hoping to get another chance at glory.

Deutschland DFB stellt Voss-Tecklenburg vor
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Dedert

"I'm really looking forward to the exciting task at hand that will provide a lot of challenges, but also a lot of opportunities,” said Voss-Tecklenburg upon being announced as the new head coach of the German women's national team at the German FA's headquarters in Frankfurt. "I know the responsibility I have, but also the potential.”

Read more: Germany's women draw blank in Hrubesch's farewell

The 50-year-old has signed a deal that runs until 2021 and takes over from Horst Hrubesch, who himself jumped in last March to take charge of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in France following the dismissal of Steffi Jones. 

Transitioning from player to coach

For the past six-and-a-half years, Voss-Tecklenburg has filled the role of head coach with the Swiss women's national team, who secured World Cup qualification for the first time in 2014 under her guidance.

At the tournament in 2015, they came up short in the last 16 before getting knocked out in the group stages of the 2017 European Championships. They were, however, unable to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Nevertheless, no one had a bad word to say about the German head coach upon her departure. "With her belief in us and her German mentality, she was able to advance Swiss women's football,” said Swiss national player Lia Wälti of Voss-Tecklenburg.

Her passion for the sport is intense, but she has dropped the hard edge she had as a player in favor of a gentler demeanor: "I've learned to handle the fact that people have weaknesses.”

Four-time European champion

Fußball Frauen Martina Voss
Unbeatable at the European championships: Martina Voss won the title four times during her career.Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A midfielder by trade, Voss-Tecklenburg's style of play drew comparisons to Pierre Littbarski, a male German World Cup winner in 1990. During her career she enjoyed a lot of highs, but also some lows. She won four European Championship (1989, 91, 95, 97) with Germany and finished as a runner-up at the World Cup in 1995.

While she managed to collect 125 caps for Germany and six Bundesliga titles, her career was often hampered by injury meaning she missed out on Euro 97 and the 1999 World Cup.

Kicked out of the Olympic squad

The biggest disappointment of her time as a player though came when she was kicked out of Germany's Olympic squad by head coach Tina Theune-Meyer before the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Her dismissal was attributed to a private dispute with her partner Inka Grins, with whom she was living at the time. "For me it was an absolute nightmare not being able to participate in the Olympics,” Voss-Tecklenburg said in an interview soon after the decision. "I don't understand it and I don't accept it.”

Years later during in an interview with German publication Der Spiegel, she expressed concern that the real reason was that the male-dominated German FA were afraid to get involved in the topic of homosexuality in women's football.

Ending her career with an own-goal

The Duisburg-native's playing career ended on a somewhat sour note in the 2003 German Cup final when FCR 2001 Duisburg lost 1-0 to 1. FFC Frankfurt and the only goal of the game was scored by Voss-Tecklenburg against her own side, in the 89th minute no less.

Fußball Frauen Martina Voss
Voss' final farewell was far from idealImage: picture-alliance/dpa

She said after the match that she didn't know if she'd "be able to get over that”, but she did.  She found a new calling as a head coach which has taken her to the top job in German women's football. "It's the cherry on top of my career,” Voss-Tecklenburg told the assembled press. "I want to win titles – I still haven't been a World Cup winner.”

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