UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship holders Germany picked up where they left off last season as they sailed through the first qualifying round with three wins and 30 unanswered goals.
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In Bulgaria for Group 6, Germany began with 11-0 victories against Serbia and the hosts before wrapping up first place with an 8-0 defeat of Finland. The consolation for Finland was that the relative closeness of that game gave them second place on goal difference and a chance at a second qualifying round berth.
In the inaugural 2007/08 edition Germany won all their eight fixtures and struck 39 goals, so this season's team under Ralf Peter had something to live up to. And within nine minutes of their opener against Serbia they were 2-0 up through Ivana Rudelic and Claudia Götte, two of six survivors from last season's victorious squad. Rudelic, who struck in the 3-0 final win against France in Nyon, went on to complete a hat-trick but was eclipsed by four goals from Nicole Rolser, with Annika Eberhardt, Leonie Maier and Annika Doppler also on target. Finland defeated Bulgaria 6-0 thanks to a Lila Räihälä hat-trick and strikes by Marianna Tolvanen, Ninni Berg and Nelli Back.
Five for Mester
Two days later, though, Finland had to come from 2-0 down to draw with Serbia, goals early in each half by Danica Spasojević and Ana Liliić - the latter a penalty – cancelled out by substitute Ida Sundsten and Räihälä. No such problems for Germany against Bulgaria and Lynn Mester managed five goals, Rolser two and Katrin Hartmannsegger, Johanna Elsig, Karolin Simon and Rudelic one each.
A point was all Germany needed against Finland but they were 6-0 up at half-time through two Rudelic, goals either side of Ramona Petzelberger, Götte, Maier and Doppler strikes, and after the break Simon converted a penalty and Mester claimed her sixth of the mini-tournament. However, as Serbia beat Bulgaria 6-0, Finland finished second and will hope to be one of the six runners-up to progress with the best record against the teams first and third in their pool.