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A stalwart of Germany's 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup winning side, Simone Laudehr should have been one of the first names on Silvia Neid's team sheet at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™. Until, that is, a knee ligament injury – sustained in a pre-tournament friendly against Russia on 6 August – put paid to the 23-year-old's hopes of starting the tournament where she left off two years ago.
Laudehr, scorer of her country's second goal in the 2-0 final victory over Brazil in Shanghai, is a midfielder of many gifts; competent on the ball and equally intelligent in her movement off it. As the FCR 2001 Duisburg player herself admits, she does not count patience among her virtues, but her wish for a place in the starting XI could be granted as Neid prepares to experiment in Germany's final Group B outing against Iceland.
Watching the Mannschaft's first game in Finland from the sidelines, after seven weeks of intensive preparation, was a testing experience for Lauder, as her coach fully appreciates. "She's handling the situation as well as she can, but it's obvious that she is among the candidates who need more time to play," said Neid.
Making her tournament debut as a half-time substitute against France, however, was the ideal tonic for Laudehr. True to form, she also opened her account with a typically well-timed run into the penalty area and a precise finish to cap off the 5-1 victory. "I just hit the ball without thinking too much, it was a nice goal," the 2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup winner told uefa.com. "At the beginning I was still struggling a bit as I had problems getting my breath, but I really had fun, I had even a few shots on goal and some crosses."
The next step is to show Neid that she is ready to retake her place in central midfield, where Kim Kulig has proved a more than competent understudy, as her Carlsberg Player of the Match award against Norway emphasised. "Simone couldn't do any football-specific training over the last two weeks so, of course, she will need some more time to get back to her best," Neid added.
Laudehr, burning to showcase her talents once again, is willing to fill in wherever needed: "I've played on the wings or sometimes in defensive midfield, but it's up to the coach where she wants to field me. I just want to play." Although a one-to-one chat with her trainer has reassured her she still has a bigger part to play at these finals. "That was extremely important to me," the No6 added. "Maybe I'm now fit enough for 90 minutes."
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