Alexandra Popp inspires the whole world at the European Football Championship. Germany may have lost the final, but she will always be the winner of hearts.
It was a brief moment that decided her fate – and maybe that of the entire women’s DFB team. In the last training, with the last shot, Germany’s super striker Alexandra Popp, 31, pulled a muscle strain.
Despite injuries, Alexandra Popp gives her all
“I couldn’t play a long-distance pass or shoot at goal, so it didn’t make any sense,” said the 31-year-old, who led Germany to the final with six goals in five games. “It was clear to me that we were in a European Championship final and that we had to play with a full band.”
“Poppi”, as she is affectionately known, does not use it. And not only gave Lea Schüller, 24, her big chance, but also showed once again what distinguished our women’s team at the European Championships: team spirit.
Nobody wants to shine at the expense of the community, but each player works for the other, sacrifices herself. Even from the bench, the injured Popp supported her colleagues, cheered them on – and tried to comfort them a little after the defeat.
Proud national coach: “She always gives everything”
“She always gives everything,” says national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, 54, about her midfield star from VfL Wolfsburg. Alexandra Popp is a seven-time German champion, nine-time DFB Cup winner, two-time Champions League winner and Olympic champion. In 120 games with the eagle on her chest, she has scored more than 50 goals.
Career with ups and downs
But not only triumphs, but unfortunately also serious injuries shaped her career. After a knee injury, “Poppi” feared for her participation in the European Championship. Already in 2013 and 2017 she had to pass due to injury. And then this comeback!
From the start she played in her favorite position as a striker. “She’s a guy. And you can only win a tournament with guys,” said Voss-Tecklenburg. Even if it wasn’t enough to win in the end – these “guys” wrote history and inspired the Germans with their passion: around 18 million watched the final on the screens.
She also shines in her private life
And the record player has the greatest share in that. But despite the success, Alexandra Popp knows no star airs. The trained animal keeper likes to spend her free time with her Australian Shepherd Patch. “My dog is a friend, a confidante, a comforter – my guardian angel,” says Popp. And on the pitch, “Poppi” only takes off when she heads with a lot of force. “She’s a real team player and also takes care of the younger players to show them the way,” goalkeeper Almuth Schult praises her teammate in an ARD TV documentary.
For example, the exceptional talent Lena Oberdorf, 20, with whom she plays in Wolfsburg and who has now been honored as the best young player of the tournament at the European Championships.
No wonder, because “Obi”, as Lena Oberdorf is called by her teammates because there were already several Lenas in the DFB team at the beginning of her career, closed gaps and intercepted passes before the opponents recognized these spaces and started dangerous attacks could. She lives for the ball, just like Alexandra Popp – but both know that there is also life off the field.
“Poppi” wants a family
In 2011, “Poppi” showed her boyfriend Patrick for the first time. And three years ago she revealed to Kicker: “The rough plan is that I want to start a family and have a child. I don’t want to wait too long with that.” The first step has been taken: “Poppi” and Patrick got married last year.