Klopp-like Voss-Tecklenburg eyeing first World Cup title with Germany

Just half a year after she was appointed, new Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is aiming to do what she never managed to do as a player and win the Women's World Cup.

The 51-year-old made 125 appearances for her country in her playing career, retiring in 2000 before Germany's World Cup wins in 2003 and 2007.

A demanding but approachable coach who has compared herself to Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, Voss-Tecklenburg is hoping to be crowned world champion from the dugout in 2019.

Germany face Nigeria in the last 16 on Saturday, having won all three of their group games without conceding a goal.

Voss-Tecklenburg has warned that Nigeria will be "a tough nut to crack", but her team are already looking formidable in France.

Once the undisputed European power in women's football, Germany are enjoying a resurgence under Voss-Tecklenburg.

The 51-year-old took over from interim coach Horst Hrubesch in November with the national team reeling from a turbulent few years.

After winning the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics under legendary coach Silvia Neid, Germany's aura faded under Neid's successor Steffi Jones.

Jones was eventually sacked, and Hrubesch brought in to steady the ship. Since Voss-Tecklenburg the Germans have remained unbeaten ever since.

"There are more teams at the top of the game these days, but we are still among the best in the world," Voss-Tecklenburg told AFP subsidiary SID before the tournament.

Yet she warned that Germany would have to "overcome challenges" if they were to reach the latter stages of the World Cup.

- 'I see myself in Klopp' -

The Germany coach knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges.

As a child, her mother banned her from playing football, and she had to sneak out to train in secret.

She would later become one of Germany's most iconic players, winning four European Championship titles in the 1990s.

Her international career ended abruptly in 2000 after a falling out with her team mate and then partner Inka Grings.

She has balanced motherhood and a period as a full-time office clerk with a successful coaching career.

Following spells in charge at women's Bundesliga sides Duisburg and Jena, Voss-Tecklenburg led Switzerland to their first ever World Cup appearance in 2015.

"Martina was the first coach to convince us of our own abilities," former Swiss captain Caroline Abbe told Le Temps in 2018.

Voss-Tecklenburg prides herself on her motivational and communication skills, comparing herself to Juergen Klopp in a recent interview with broadcaster ZDF.

"I see myself a lot in the way he does things. He works in a way which I think is good for players and people generally," she said.

Alexandra Popp, who Voss-Tecklenburg made Germany captain in January, told SID last month that the coach had been a "formative figure" in her career.

"Martina is very communicative and open, and she always has a clear plan of what she wants."

What Voss-Tecklenburg wants in France is attacking football and, at the very least, a place in the semi-finals.

"We want to play passionate and creative football," she told Kicker magazine in April.

"It may be necessary to reach the last four to qualify for the Olympics, because only the top three European teams will qualify, and I think there are many European teams who have a chance of winning the World Cup," she told SID ahead of the tournament.

Germany are one of those teams, and their hard-headed coach Voss-Tecklenburg is on a mission to return her country to the very top.

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