U.S. WNT History in Germany
The USA and Germany are without question the two most successful women’s soccer nations in the world, each with two FIFA Women’s World Cup titles. The Germans have seven European crowns, and the Americans own four Olympic gold medals.
The series between the two countries dates back to spring 1991, before the first ever Women’s World Cup. Although the teams have met 28 times, just five of those games have taken place on German soil.
In fact, since the turn of the century, the USA has played in Germany just twice, earning 1-0 wins both times.
How tough is it to score on German soil? The USA’s 10 goals in Germany have all been scored by U.S. attacking legends: Michelle Akers, Carin Gabarra, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett, Julie Foudy and Abby Wambach.
Here’s a look at the five matches between the teams that have taken place in Germany, where the USA has earned a 4-1-0 record.
May 30, 1991
USA 4, Germany 2
Head coach: Anson Dorrance
This game – played in front of 3,244 fans - came during a five-match tour of Europe in which the USA defeated France twice, lost to the Netherlands 4-3, defeated Germany and lost to Denmark. It was also the first time the USA had played a unified Germany after facing West Germany twice, in 1988 in Italy and in 1990 in Minnesota. Carin Jennings (now Carin Gabarra) and Michelle Akers scored two goals each in the match that featured 10 starters who would also start the USA’s first-ever Women’s World Cup match less than six months later. The only difference in the lineups was in goal; Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner started the match in Kaiserslautern, but Mary Harvey would take over the starting job in the nets for the Women’s World Cup in China. The wide-open attacking match featured four goals in the first 19 minutes as Jennings and Akers tallied in the sixth and eighth minutes before the Germans roared back for two goals in a five-minute span, the first from Martina Voss in the 15th and then an equalizer from Bettina Wiegmann in the 19th. Jennings put the USA ahead for good in the 58th minute, and Akers sealed it with her 37th career goal in the 70th. It was also Akers’ 33rd goal in a span of 19 games, the best goal scoring run in U.S. history.
Oct. 9, 1997
USA 1, Germany 3
Head coach: Tony DiCicco
In a match played in steady rain in front of 7,050 fans, the USA took an early lead through a fourth minute goal from Kristine Lilly, but the Germans battled back for three unanswered goals to record a 3-1 victory and end a 30-game unbeaten streak for the USA. Lilly’s goal came off Shannon MacMillan’s low corner-kick that skipped through the penalty box to Tisha Venturini, who slid to touch the ball back to Lilly for an easy tap in from close range. Germany was coming off its fourth consecutive European title and showed its class with goals from Sandra Smisek in the 27th minute, Pia Wunderlich in the 52nd and 20-year-old Birgit Prinz in the 74th. The match was the first for U.S. captain Carla Overbeck in more than a year as she had taken time off for the birth of a son on Aug. 14, 1997. U.S. Head Coach Tony DiCicco emptied his bench in the second half, giving first caps to Kristi Devert, Jill Stewart and Michelle Demko, the latter earning her only career cap.
Said DiCicco on the match:
“The better team won tonight. We had some early chances that we didn’t put away and Germany made us pay. We have a proud team and they are very disappointed with the result. They have huge hearts, but perhaps we played too much with our hearts and not enough with our minds.”
Oct. 12, 1997
USA 3, Germany 0
Head coach: Tony DiCicco
The USA rebounded from the loss to Germany three days earlier with a 3-0 thumping of the hosts in Salzgitter, a small town 40 minutes from Hannover. A capacity crowd of 4,906 watched the match as the smell of Bratwurst wafted up from grills behind one goal. Mia Hamm scored a goal in each half and Tiffeny Milbrett, who terrorized the German defense all day with her dribbling runs, added a third. Milbrett created the first goal in the 31st minute when she collected a ball 40 yards from the net and ran at the German midfield. On a full sprint, Milbrett slashed past two defenders before sending a delicate thread pass to Hamm, who cut tothe top of the penalty box. Hamm sidestepped one defender to the inside, took a hard stride to goal and rolled her left-footed shot into the left corner from 10 yards out. The U.S. added the second goal five minutes before halftime when Shannon MacMillan’s driven corner-kick from the right side found Tisha Venturini at the far post. The U.S. midfielder leaped to head the ball back into the middle for Milbrett’s six-yard tap-in. With a two-goal lead, the Americans possessed the ball and challenged the Germans to come out of their half of the field. When they did, giving the U.S. space in the midfield, the Americans attacked with flair and the final goal came off a great move. A quick series of passes found MacMillan deep on the right wing. Her long cross to the far post was met by Hamm, who headed the ball into the lower left corner past sprawling German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg for her 80th career international goal in 132 appearances.
Said DiCicco on the match:
“The character of the U.S. team was obvious today. They were disappointed in their performance on Thursday and today, every player was a better player. Tiffeny Milbrett and Mia Hamm put on a show for the Germans, but it was all based on an inspired performance from their teammates.”
July 22, 2000
USA 1, Germany 0
Head coach: April Heinrichs
Midfielder Julie Foudy scored the only goal of this game in the 57th minute as the USA earned a well-deserved 1-0 victory to take the championship of the DFB Jubilee Tournament, which also featured China and Norway. It was the first meeting between the USA and Germany since the historic quarterfinal match of the 1999 Women's World Cup, a match in which the U.S. women came back twice from one-goal deficits to win 3-2. The Americans needed no such comebacks in front of 6,050 energetic fans in a match that was one of Michelle Akers’ last for the USA; Akers came on as a 58th minute sub and would play just five more games before retiring. The match was also notable for a scary moment in which defender Kate Sobrero was sandwiched between charging U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix, who came out of her goal to punch a free-kick away, and an onrushing German forward. Sobrero, already playing with a mask to protect a broken nose suffered just prior to departure for Europe, was knocked unconscious. She rose and walked off the field under her own power but was replaced by Danielle Slaton and was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. With the U.S. defense putting the clamps on the German forwards, the Americans dominated territorially for most of the match but had to continually absorb repeated German counter-attacks. The U.S. goal came after the Americans had come out strong after halftime, pinning the Germans inside their own half. The goal sequence started when defender Christie Pearce, who battled all day long with German forward Birgit Prinz, once again clashed with the 5-10 striker, jamming her body between Prinz and the ball as Prinz tried to beat her on the dribble. Prinz ran up Pearce's back and bundled into her, committing what looked to be an obvious foul, but the referee allowed play to go on. Pearce recovered to tap the ball backwards to Slaton, who immediately fed Shannon MacMillan on the right flank. With the German players still yelling for a foul on Pearce, and Prinz in a heap on the ground, MacMillan hit a perfect bending ball behind the defense to Foudy at the far post. The ball flashed by German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg, who turned to face Foudy, but the U.S. midfielder tapped the ball back across the German goalkeeper's body, rolling it into the goal at the right post.
Said Heinrichs on the match:
"The most pleasing thing about winning this tournament for the U.S. team was the quality of competition we faced. We used this tournament to simulate our first round in the Olympics, and if this was the Olympics, we would be through to the next round. It was three incredibly difficult games. Three games that sapped us of every ounce of energy we had. For us to play Norway and then China, just as we will do in the Olympics, and then finish with Germany and get the results that we did was a tremendous accomplishment."
Oct. 29, 2009
USA 1, Germany 0
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
In a match where Germany certainly had the better of the play, outshooting the USA 17-7, the Americans pulled out a gritty win on a 34th minute goal from Abby Wambach and some world class defending by the back four of Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler and Lori Chalupny, as well as some excellent goalkeeping from Hope Solo. The match was played in front of an electric crowd of 28,377 singing and chanting fans at Impuls Arena, which would host matches of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was the first international match at the stadium and also set a record for the largest crowd in the venue’s young history. Some poor German finishing certainly benefited the USA as well, but the Germans tormented the USA down the left flank early on. Fatmire Bajramaj got around the U.S. defense three times in the first half and dribbled straight at the near post. Each time, she laid a short pass into the six yard box, but on all three occasions, the U.S. defenders somehow managed to intercept the ball. The crosses flew into the U.S. penalty area from both sides of the field for much of the match, but a supremely confident Solo and her defenders managed to repel almost every one. The services on which the Germans did get a head or a foot invariably went high or wide. The U.S. goal came clearly against the run of play, and it stunned the sell-out crowd. The stage was set for a classy bit of finishing from Wambach after midfielder Yael Averbuch, in her first start for the The National Team and just her third cap, looped in a cross from the left wing. German defender Saskia Bartusiak got a foot on it but cleared poorly, and the ball spun up in the air. Wambach got good position under the falling ball and beat charging German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer to nod a header into the net from near the penalty spot. It was Wambach’s 101st career international goal, moving her past Tiffeny Milbrett into fourth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list behind Mia Hamm (who attended the match), Kristine Lilly and Michelle Akers. Immediately after the goal, a German attack resulted in a cataclysmic collision between Solo, Lori Chalupny and Birgit Prinz, but Solo came up with the ball and Prinz was called for the foul. The play was representative of the way the U.S. players put their bodies on the line all night to keep Germany off the scoreboard.
Said Sundhage on the match:
“It was a really good game, and Germany is a really good team. I said before the game that we would be winners regardless of the outcome, but I am very happy about the Abby Wambach goal and that we did some good defending today…I give credit to the back four and Hope Solo in the goal and the team defending. I am Swedish, but there is something to be said about the Americans. They are winners. Their attitude is fantastic and that is one of the reasons why we won today. Playing in front of this big crowd is unique and it’s good for me personally and all the players. So today, I am very happy.”