One half of the dynamic duo that floored Norway with a scintillating first-half performance on Monday, Linda Dallmann says Germany's failure to reach the finals 12 months ago has made them hungrier than ever.
Germany were a constant presence throughout the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship's first decade, but last season they endured unknown failure as Sweden barred their path to the finals. There was no stopping them this time round, and their 5-0 demolition of Norway – all five goals coming before half-time – suggests Maren Meinert's charges are eager to make up for lost time.
"Back then [when Germany did not qualify for the U19 finals] we had almost the same team as now, which is motivation for us to do a lot better," said Dallmann. "The first half against Norway was obviously good; we found an excellent path into the tournament. We were able to show what we're about. My two goals were both well-made – I only had to finish them off with a tap-in. It was an important start into the tournament."
Dallmann is being modest. The second of her two early goals at Parc y Scarlets, a towering header, was hardly a tap-in. She then turned provider, selflessly laying on two goals later in the half as Pauline Bremer, just 17, completed her hat-trick. "You seldom have the chance to play on an international level and we have to seize it here. You have to assert yourself in every match."
Dallmann is only 18 herself, but a prodigious talent. She made her Frauen Bundesliga debut for SGS Essen at 16 and scored her first goal not long after her 17th birthday. She now has nearly 50 top-flight appearances behind her though she stresses that this fortnight in Wales offers something different. "You cannot compare a European Championship like this one with a normal tournament or the Bundesliga," she said.
"I played in the Under-17 European Championship where we lost in the semi-finals [in 2011] and it is something very special for a player's development. Every game here helps you to further your development and that plays a very important role for your future. You have to be able to prepare for every opponent and the different ways they are playing which is the big challenge in such a tournament."
Those skills will be tested over the coming few days, with a rematch against Sweden preceding Sunday's final Group B match versus Finland. "Sweden are definitely a strong team, but Finland drawing against them shows that both of them are very strong. They both play good football and we must not underestimate them. We must perform like we did against Norway." Sweden and Finland, be warned.
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