Germany completed their preparations for the fast-approaching European Championship in England with an emphatic home win over Switzerland, secured after an influential display by Klara Bühl.
The 21-year-old walked away with a hat trick and an assist, even if two of her goals can be filed under "fortuitous." Still, it was a performance by the Bayern Munich player that underlined her importance to Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's team, which the coach is fine-tuning two weeks ahead of Germany's Euros opener against Denmark on July 8.
Germany will also face Spain at London's Brentford Community Stadium before a trip to Milton Keynes to face Finland. Bühl's withdrawal in the 74th minute triggered a standing ovation from the almost 6,000-strong crowd in Erfurt, impressed by her relentless running and eye for goal that will be crucial if Germany are to go far in England. This Bühl-inspired occasion was also a victory that extended Germany's unbeaten run at home to 17 games.
"It's good to play a game like that,” Bühl told broadcaster ZDF. "It gives us self-confidence. It shows us we're on the right track. And that's the way we want to continue. At halftime, we simply talked about things and tried to implement them — it worked very, very well."
By the time Linda Dallmann, Jule Brand and Sydney Lohmann had come off the bench to add the fifth, sixth and seventh goals, Switzerland just wanted it all to end. It was a rout that could prove as inspiring to Germany as damaging to the Swiss, who must contend with Sweden and Netherlands in their group in England.
No team has won the Euros more often than Germany. However, the eight-time record winners haven't lifted the trophy since 2013, and with the exception of the squad's more experienced campaigners — Alexandra Popp, Svenja Huth, Almuth Schult — tangible international success remains elusive to Voss-Tecklenburg's squad.
But as Bühl mentioned, it was a confidence building and assured victory for the world's fifth ranked team, who have now scored 87 goals in 18 games against the Swiss. Voss-Tecklenburg clearly saw it as a chance to fine-tune her team, and naturally she was delighted with what she saw from her players.
"What makes us stand out is our freshness," said the national coach. "We rewarded ourselves with a lot of goals, and if we can take just that, then it has great value."
Author Michael Da Silva
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Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin fans elect former ultra as club president
Hertha Berlin supporters have picked one of their own to be their new club president, snubbing an ex-lawmaker favored by the investors. After a tumultuous time, newly elected Kay Bernstein has called for a "new start."
Members of Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin elected a former ultra as their new club president on Sunday. Kay Bernstein, a 41-year-old communications manager with no previous experience in club management, beat the favorite to win, former Bundestag lawmaker Frank Steffel.
Bernstein received 1,670 votes from the 3,016 members present, out of a total membership of 41,200.
The failure of the conservative politician to win the club presidency is seen as a defeat for the club's establishment and a win for the fan base. In German football, the ultras are those hardcore, organized supporters who coordinate the atmosphere at matches home and away, and who create the often spectacular choreography and displays in the stands.
While ultras in some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, are politically right-wing, German ultras tend to be more left-leaning, and often get engaged in sociopolitical campaigns — although they do attract criticism for their frequent use of pyrotechnics.
Club to be 'detoxified'
Bernstein was a founder member of the hardcore Hertha ultra group "Harlekins Berlin '98" and former "capo," the fan who conducts the chants with a megaphone. He is still involved in the club's social projects. He said Hertha was in "intensive care" but could now be "detoxified from the inside and made healthy."
The new president said he would build a team to help him manage the club, and called for a truce after ongoing infighting affecting the club's fortunes. The announcement of Bernstein's victory was met with cheers from the club's fans. Hertha Berlin only narrowly avoided being relegated from the Bundesliga last season after having to face a relegation playoff.
Bernstein is replacing 72-year-old Werner Gegenbauer who has held the post since 2008. Gegenbauer has repeatedly clashed with investor Lars Windhorst, who has pumped €375 million into Hertha over the last two seasons, for little visible reward. Windhorst had effectively accused Gegenbauer of wasting the money, although supporters held both men responsible for the club's travails.
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