“England are the favourites” is not a phrase you expect a German legend to use before a game between the sides, but Annike Krahn thinks her team could be in trouble.
Krahn, who is flying over for the sell-out game at Wembley, is part of a new generation of retired female players itching to make the changes she thinks German football needs. As a recent graduate of Uefa’s Executive Master for International Players, a network that includes Didier Drogba and Kaka, she may soon be a woman with the power to do so.
Krahn won an Olympic bronze, the European Championship twice and an Olympic gold in Rio 2016. Yet she says that outside her hometown and women’s football circles she was not famous at all. “The times have changed completely, with the media and worldwide attention for women’s football.”
There is no clearer sign of that than Saturday's friendly at a sold-out 90,000 capacity Wembley Stadium, which aims to smash the home attendance record of 45,619. Krahn was on the pitch when the record was set in 2014. She says that while England have come far, Germany are lagging behind.
“We can learn from England. From the media and the marketing the FA [Football Association] is doing. In Germany the Bundesliga doesn’t get much attention even if a game is televised. Young girls aren’t being inspired by the national team like before because we are not that successful.”
Even though Germany are two-time world champions and eight-time European champions, and England have won only one of 25 games against them, Krahn says the roles have reversed.
“For me England is the favourite in this game. They went far in this summer’s World Cup.” Germany were knocked out in the quarter-finals and therefore did not qualify for next year’s Olympics. “The German team is struggling. It’s a really young team with not a lot of experience.”
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Germany’s head coach, said: “We have a young team, but they have got the experienced players that will help them with that process. Is it enough for the Euros in 2021? We don’t know but we’re thinking in the longer term.”