- Melanie Leupolz is a driving force on the pitch
- The Bayern Munich captain missed the start of UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 qualifying
- “Eighteen goals is already a formidable number”
At just 25 years old, Melanie Leupolz has already played at four major tournaments and celebrated five titles – including the gold medal at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament 2016 in Rio.
Just as she was at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada, the Bayern skipper who grew up with a passion for motocross as well as football was a key member of Germany’s squad at France 2019.
Leupolz spoke to FIFA.com about taking positives from the last Women’s World Cup, Germany’s upcoming matches in UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 qualifying and how her role within the national team has changed.
Let’s look back for a moment. Although Germany’s World Cup campaign did not end the way you would have hoped, what positive moments and experiences did you take from it?
Regardless of the result, I got to experience another tournament with the team, and with the new coaching team. We’d only been working together since January, and it was very clear that we would have to go through a process in that sense. The tournament also came a little early for us, but it gave us some good insights nonetheless, in terms of where other countries stood and where we were at. We can take that with us for the future.
You mentioned the new coaching team. What, in your opinion, sets Martina Voss-Tecklenburg apart from other coaches?
She pays very close attention to the small details. She demands a high level of quality on the pitch so that we can get the best out of every situation, learn from it and improve as individuals. She also observes a lot off the pitch and works hand-in-hand with her coaching team. They complement each other well.
The future looks bright for Germany, with 18 goals scored in the first two European qualifiers. Did you expect such resounding results against Montenegro and Ukraine? You missed both games through injury.
I thought it would be comfortable – but perhaps not quite as comfortable as it was against Ukraine. In any case, 18 goals is a formidable number. However, I think the reverse fixtures will be tougher. Our opponents will be ready for us and will sit even deeper.
So do you think Germany are unlikely to deliver a similar show of strength against Ukraine and Greece?
We have to use our skills and take them out onto the pitch. Simply put, we have significantly more quality than our two opponents and need to convert that into goals. Once you win by such a high margin, it’s tough to repeat that. It hardly ever happens. Our opponents can and will set themselves up better to face us.
Is it an advantage for you to play alongside several of your club-mates from Bayern Munich in the national team?
It definitely helps that we know each other, both on and off the pitch, but it’s always great to join up with the national side and meet your other team-mates. Many of us have already been playing together for Germany for many years and just don’t get to see each other every day. It’s a special highlight to be able to play with the best players in the country. There are also always new players to meet from teams like Hoffenheim. It’s always lively when we all get together!
You made your international debut almost six years ago. How has your role within the team changed?
I was still very young and inexperienced back then. With every year that goes by and every international you play, you pick up more experience. Back then I was still a winger, and over time I’ve shifted to become a holding midfielder. My experiences have changed my game and my role within the team. There are always young players coming through. It’s a cycle.
What three characteristics would you use to describe yourself?
Reliable, ambitious and a team player.
You have already played at four major tournaments and won Olympic gold by the age of 25. What are your personal goals?
I haven’t yet won the Champions League, the DFB Cup or the World Cup, of course. These are all still targets for me. Apart from that, I just want to keep developing and improving every day.