Two years after the "most difficult moment" of her career – being left out of Germany's FIFA Women's World Cup squad – Anja Mittag is back in favour and discusses her return.
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Anja Mittag's career seemed to have lost its way in 2011 when Germany coach Silvia Neid left the forward out of the hosts' FIFA Women's World Cup squad.
That was a real blow to a player who had been part of the set-up since her debut as an 18-year-old in 2004. But a move at the start of 2012 from 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to FC Malmö proved a catalyst, and Mittag ended her first year in Sweden as league player of the season and top scorer, as well as back in favour for Germany. Named in the German squad today for their tilt at a sixth straight European title at UEFA Women's EURO 2013, Mittag – a winner in 2005 and 2009 – tells UEFA.com about her rehabilitation.
UEFA.com: Is anticipation high in Malmo?
Anja Mittag: Within the club, yes. I have team-mates who we will face in the group stages, Dutch players or players from Iceland. So you do talk about it. And you're already organising who you will swap shirts with after the match, stuff like that. So we have talked about it within the team. Regarding ticket sales it seems there has been a positive reaction so far.
UEFA.com: Did the switch to Malmö come at the right time for you?
Mittag: Yes, this step was definitely the right one. I could maybe have done it a bit earlier in my career, but to have made this step in general was right, and I don't regret it.
UEFA.com: How did you come to terms with being left out for the 2011 World Cup?
Mittag: It was certainly a difficult moment, but of course you had to look forward, you couldn't change anything, it was what it was. Life goes on, of course, you don't stop there, life goes on and you have to look forward. You have to look ahead, and then the sun will shine again at some point.
UEFA.com: What was the most difficult moment in your career?
Mittag: Definitely the World Cup in 2011, with me not participating.
UEFA.com: How has women's football changed over the last few years?
Mittag: There have been changes in technique and tactics. You are certainly better prepared for the match against your opponents.
UEFA.com: Are there any players you could name who have had an influence on the development of women's football over recent years?
Mittag: Well, there are certainly players I could name. For example there is [Germany's] Fatmire Bajramaj – she is great to watch, she just handles the ball so well and always does surprising things. Then Caroline Seger from Sweden, with her aggression and her presence. There are a lot of good players, though.