From Brentford Community Stadium – Germany are through to their tenth Women’s European Championship semi-final after beating Austria 2-0 at Euro 2022.
Die Nationalelf re-established themselves as one of the tournament favourites after winning all three of their group games, but had to dig deep in order to beat their neighbours in the quarter-finals.
The first big chance of the game went Austria’s way when Sarah Puntigam skipped away from Lena Oberdorf and slipped through Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller, but the winger’s effort was tame and easily held by Merle Frohms.
Almost immediately down the other end, captain Alexandra Popp fired over after meeting a cut-back in the Austria box.
Marina Georgieva then rattled the Germany post after rising highest to meet a corner as the Austrian’s bright start continued.
However, it was Die Nationalelf who broke the deadlock when Carina Wenninger was beaten to a loose ball by Klara Buhl and teed up Lina Magull, who stroked the ball into the bottom corner after a neat dummy from Popp.
Magull nearly turned provider when she picked out Svenja Huth with a clever pass over the top, but Manuela Zinsberger stood tall to deny her at the near post.
Germany struck the post from their first attack after the break when Giulia Gwinn got on the end of a low Buhl cross.
A poor clearance from Frohms ended with Barbara Dunst attempting an audacious 30-yard lob, striking the crossbar and reminding Germany their lead was slender.
Sarah Puntigam was next to hit the bar after Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side failed to clear a corner, while substitute Linda Dallman fired over at the other end after Popp’s delicate flick on sent her racing through on goal.
Zinsberger had to get a hand on Gwinn’s cross in order to stop Popp from heading home, and the Arsenal stopper was quickly to her feet to deny Oberdorf from range.
The bar was again shaking, though this time it was Austria’s, when Buhl’s thunderous 25-yard shot crashed against it as Germany looked to kill the tie.
After narrowly missing from distance, Buhl somehow fired wide when she put Popp’s cutback wide of Zinsberger’s goal to the amazement of everyone inside Brentford Community Stadium.
But Germany’s route to the final was secured when Popp blocked a Zinsberger kick, scoring the second of the night with her back and sending her country to the last four to face either France or the Netherlands.
GK: Merle Frohms – 6/10 – Stood tall for the most part, though was rooted to her line for Georgieva’s header and wasn’t getting Dunst’s lob.
RB: Giulia Gwinn – 7/10 – Supported Huth and had more of a tangible impact than her in attack on occasion.
CB: Kathrin-Julia Hendrich – 7/10 – Leant on Hegering in order to clamp down Billa.
CB: Marina Hegering – 7/10 – Was mostly imperious but was prone to the odd lapse in concentration.
LB: Felicitas Rauch – 6/10 – Excellent set piece delivery and helped on the overlap, though found it hard keeping up with Hickelsberger-Fuller.
CM: Lena Oberdorf – 9/10 – Started rather sloppily on her return from suspension but quickly grew into the tie and made it her own. Won back possession and redistributed it so effortlessly.
CM: Lina Magull – 9/10 – Another goal and another immense all-round performance. Sensational.
CM: Sara Dabritz – 6/10 – Not as influential as Oberdorf or Magull but it would have taken quite the game to have matched them.
RW: Svenja Huth – 6/10 – Looked threatening in part but lacked quality in the final third.
CF: Alexandra Popp – 9/10 – Kept her place in the XI despite Schuller’s return to the squad. Her experience and general quality were to Germany’s benefit.
LW: Klara Buhl – 7/10 – Had fun toying with Wienroither and Wenninger.
SUB: Lena Lattwein (64′, CM for Dabritz) – 6/10
SUB: Linda Dallman (64′, CM for Magull) – 7/10
SUB: Jule Brand (83′, LW for Buhl) – N/A
SUB: Sophia Kleinherne (90′, LB for Rauch) – N/A
SUB: Sydney Lohmann (90′, RW for Huth)
GK: Manuela Zinsberger -3/10 – Made a couple of decent stops but was at least partially at fault for both goals.
RB: Laura Wienroither – 5/10 – Started brightly but was then given a bit of a hiding by Buhl.
CB: Carina Wenninger – 4/10 – Her inaction in defence resulted in Germany going in front.
CB: Marina Georgieva – 7/10 – Very calm in possession and Austria’s best defender by far.
LB: Verena Hanshaw – 5/10 – Huth was mostly quiet but it’s not as if Hanshaw did much to contribute to that.
DM: Sarah Puntigam – 6/10 – Hey, it’s hard to win a midfield battle against Oberdorf and Magull. Was unlucky not to have scored.
RM: Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller – 7/10 – Always lively and creating Germany problems. Surprisingly substituted.
CM: Sarah Zadrazil – 5/10 – Popped up with a few clever passes.
CM: Laura Feiersinger – 6/10 – Looked excellent in possession and probably should have been utilised more.
LM: Barbara Dunst – 5/10 – Hitting the bar was the only real thing she did of note on the ball. Lucky to have avoided a red card for constant fouling.
CF: Nicole Billa – 5/10 – Gave Hendrich and Hegering a battle, but the German duo usually won.
SUB: Katharina Naschenweng (72′, LM for Hickelsberger-Fuller) – 5/10
SUB: Marie Hobinger (81′, CM for Puntigam) – N/A
SUB: Lisa Makas (86′, CF for Billa) – N/A