Since Ariane Hingst made her Germany debut in 1996 she has been in defence for all their major final victories – in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 UEFA European Women's Championship and the 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cups. However, her hopes of doing so at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ are over due to a knee injury, a blow which could effect Germany's chances of a fifth straight title.
The German backline has conceded just two goals in four wins in Finland, keeping clean sheets against Norway and Iceland and only giving one goal away against France and Italy. Hingst and Annike Krahn have been the central partnership ever since Steffi Jones bowed out before the 2007 World Cup, a competition Germany won without conceding a goal. Hingst, however, suffered meniscus damage to her left knee in the first half of the quarter-final win against Italy on Friday – the score was 1-0 at the time and ended 2-1 – and will not return for Monday's last-four rematch with Norway or, should Germany get there, Thursday's final.
Against Italy, Hingst was replaced by Sonja Fuss while another alternative is Saskia Bartusiak, her 1. FFC Frankfurt team-mate. Fuss and Bartusiak lack the experience of the 165-time capped Hingst so Silvia Neid may be forced to abandon the formation that has worked so well in Finland by moving Linda Bresonik to full-back and using Simone Laudehr in central midfield. When that was tried against Italy the Azzurre pulled one back and very nearly equalised late on. So, what should Neid do?
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