Germany coach Silvia Neid may be missing some key players but told UEFA.com she is confident they will return to winning ways in Turkey on Wednesday.
A surprising 2-2 draw in Spain in November not only ended Germany's run of 36 consecutive UEFA European Women's Championship qualifying victories, but also left the holders under unusual pressure in their bid to make next year's finals in Sweden. And as they use their game in hand on Spain to make up the three-point gap in Izmir, Neid is without injured quartet Inka Grings – only just recalled to the squad – Kim Kulig, Simone Laudehr and Nadine Angerer. Fatmire Bajramaj was expected to be fit following concussion, but is also unavailable after planning to meet up with the squad late, only to miss her connecting flight to Izmir.
Grings will undergo surgery on a hamstring in her left foot in Basle on Tuesday, ruling her out for six weeks. Like Kulig and Laudehr, she could be still missing for the Mannheim rematch with Spain on 31 March, while goalkeeper Angerer has a knee injury meaning a debut for Almuth Schult. "It is a pity that these players are missing, but we are strong enough to remain at a high standard," Neid said.
Certainly we know that Turkey aren't as strong as Spain or Switzerland. But even against those sort of opponents you have to find the rhythm and score goals. And Turkey will work hard not to concede. That's why we have to be fully focused, as a win is essential."
Neid will welcome back the versatile Linda Bresonik, who was left out of the November matches with Kazakhstan – which Germany won 17-0 – and Spain. "I wasn't pleased with her performances in the national team and at club level and I told her that she had to work harder," Neid explains. "That's what she did recently and we are happy to have her back in the fold."
The last-gasp equaliser that cost Germany victory in Spain has not dented the confidence of a team aiming for a sixth straight European title. "Everybody could see that we were the better side, in the second half we were just a bit taken aback by the atmosphere and lost our focus," the coach said.
"We forgot to score and we have to improve our finishing. That's what we will focus on in Turkey and we will work hard to be prepared for the crucial games against Spain and Switzerland. Our main target is to gain direct qualification for EURO 2013."
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