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Lotzen plots three-point plan for Germany

Lena Lotzen says she will "treasure" her first goal for Germany at the finals but the only prize she really covets is a UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship winner's medal.

Germany's Lena Lotzen poses outside tournament headquarters in Cervia
Germany's Lena Lotzen poses outside tournament headquarters in Cervia ©Sportsfile

Lena Lotzen is pleased by Germany's progress at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship but as far as she is concerned, reaching the last four is only the first part of a three-point plan. "The second step will be to reach the final and I will be very disappointed if we don't complete the third step by winning the title," she told UEFA.com.

Lotzen only made her debut in this age group in February and could be forgiven for feeling overawed by the occasion. Yet the precocious midfielder has shown no sign of nerves, impressing with an opening day goal against Norway – a 25-metre curling effort that restored Germany's advantage in a 3-1 win.

The 17-year-old struck again in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Netherlands, heading in the equaliser seconds after coming on midway through the second period. The fleet-footed youngster rounded off a good day by setting up the added-time winner scored by FC Bayern München team-mate Ivana Rudelic.

"It's the first time I've ever scored with my first touch," said Lotzen. "It was great to score but the most important thing was that we equalised. Setting up the second was also nice but it's not important who created it; what's important is that we scored one more than they did." Though modest about her achievements it is clear that goalscoring is an important weapon in Lotzen's armoury. It is just as well as coach Maren Meinert has identified finishing as her side's Achilles heel.

Having scored a hat-trick against Scotland for Germany U16s and also found the net three times at last year's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, Lotzen's eye for goal could be crucial for Germany's hopes of success. "I'm happy with both goals but I will treasure the first one against Norway because it was the first I've scored for the U19s," she said. "I feel like I'm on a run now."

With her first season at Bayern recently concluded, Lotzen has had to grow up fast, adapting to life away from home and the cut and thrust of Bundesliga football. It is, she says, "tougher than here because you have to face older, stronger players." Not that she is expecting Wednesday's semi-final against Switzerland to be a walk in the park. "We had strong opponents in the group stage and won all three group matches, but there is room for improvement. Switzerland will be a hard match; we just have to concentrate on our own game."

The tie will be broadcast live on TV back in Germany but not even the prospect of millions watching fazes the composed Lotzen. "It's great the match is on TV because knowing that our friends and parents will be watching at home will give us an extra boost. I have some experience of playing on TV because some of our club matches streamed live and our U17 matches were also televised. Maybe I will be a little more nervous than usual but it shouldn't be too bad." Especially if she keeps scoring.

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