Withstood the pressure, the zero is: Merle Frohms stepped out of Almuth Schult's shadow at the European Championships as number one in the German national team. The team's goalkeeping coach even certifies her a few parallels to Manuel Neuer.
Merle Frohms knows the Austrians only too well. "I pretty much know what to expect," said the national soccer goalkeeper with a smile. 13 Bundesliga professionals play for the German opponents in the quarter-finals of the European Championship, four of them, like Frohms, most recently for Eintracht Frankfurt. With insider knowledge, self-confidence and a pinch of ease, Frohms wants to keep her box clean in the fourth European Championship game. In her first tournament as Germany's number one, the 27-year-old radiates remarkable calm. "I'm very happy with myself," was her interim conclusion before the first knockout game on Thursday (21/ARD, DAZN and in the ntv.de live ticker) in Brentford.
After three group games there is still zero. Especially in the second European Championship game against Spain (2-0), she answered the frequently asked question on the big stage as to why Almuth Schult, now the most well-known footballer in Germany as a TV expert and DFB critic, is only sitting on the bench in England. When Schult was missing after her strong 2019 World Cup due to shoulder surgery and baby break, Frohms seized the opportunity she had been working towards for so long. The step out of Schult's shadow was successful - a year earlier she had had to flee to do it. Towards SC Freiburg, away from VfL Wolfsburg and the job as a bench presser behind Schult.
So now the role reversal backwards. Schult, without an international match for three years, felt overwhelmed by national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's decision at the end of May, but wants to be a team player. "Everyone who knows me knows that I give everything for the team," the Rio Olympic champion emphasized before the tournament. Ann-Katrin Berger from Chelsea is third in the league behind Schult. Assistant coach Patrik Grolimund gave "goosebumps" about the "honest" way in which the "three world-class goalkeepers" dealt with each other: "The trio works extremely well and pushes each other."
Michael Fuchs, goalkeeping coach of the DFB women, is happy that the decision worked out. In the past two years in the Eintracht jersey, Frohms has shown "that she is about to take a big step". The 30-time international has "developed further in all technical and tactical matters and also as a personality". The 52-year-old certifies Frohms' "extremely high jumping ability and dynamism"; in general, he is "very convinced" of her athleticism. Captain Alexandra Popp also appreciates Frohms as support. "She has developed brutally in the last ten years," said the 117-time national player: "She also exudes a calmness on the ball that is extremely good for a team."
A parallel to Manuel Neuer, and according to Fuchs not the only one. After his experiences with the men's national team during the past Nations League games, he can report: "Both are annoyed about goals conceded, both have their way of showing it in training - both more in a quiet way." At the European Championship games in England, Frohms were spared such annoyances. After the tournament, the next big step in her career is coming up. She is again following in Schult's big footsteps: Because the mother of twins is looking for a new adventure with the Hollywood club Angel City FC in Los Angeles, Frohms will keep goal for the double winner Wolfsburg in the future. The circle closes.