Great Britain 2 Germany 3
Great Britain played their first FIH Pro League match of the campaign on home soil but slipped to defeat against a German squad missing some players due to the conclusion of their domestic league competition the previous weekend.
Germany replaced eight players from the squad which won 3-1 in Argentina on 4 April with Nike Lorenz, Selin Oruz, Elisa Grave, Sonja Zimmerman, Cecile Pieper, Pia Maertens, Naomi Heyn, and Anna Kilian all absent.
Having fielded only 17 players in Buenos Aires, Die Danas restored their full complement of 18 players by adding Teresa Martin-Pelegrina, Janne Müller-Wieland, Julia Sonntag, Emma Boermans, Hanna Granitzki, Nele Aring, Katharina Kiefer, Liv Arndt and Lara Birkner to the squad.
Great Britain, whose last FIH Pro League match also ended in victory, 2-1 against Belgium in Brussels, made five changes with Maddie Hinch, Giselle Ansley and captain, Hollie Pearne-Webb all making comebacks together with Sarah Evans, Leah Wilkinson and Shona McCallin.
Tess Howard, Lizzie Neal, Amy Costello, Emily Dark, Sophie Hamilton and Miriam Pritchard were replaced: Howard through long term injury which also denied Emily Defroand a shot at Olympic selection. Great Britain also missed Hannah Martin’s skills.
Hinch won her 150th combined cap, alongside Sarah Robertson, whilst Ellie Rayer made her 50th combined appearance, all three celebrated in a relative low key after the match.
Germany dominated the match, but Great Britain led twice before losing out three minutes from time. There was an early suggestion that Fiona Crackles was going to spend some time on the naughty step after a clash with Müller-Wieland.
Visiting captain, Amelie Wortmann and Lena Micheel combined well to threaten in the sixth minute, but five minutes later, Great Britain broke down the right wing, Shona McCallin passing the ball inside for Rayer to find Robertson at the left post to guide the ball over the line, her momentum pushing her forwards with a slight risk of connecting with the left post.
The hosts’ lead lasted just three minutes before Germany converted their first penalty corner. Micheel’s shot was saved by Hinch but the rebound went straight to Jette Fleschütz, who didn’t hesitate to equalise.
Germany began to dominate in the second quarter and Great Britain had Lily Owsley to thank for defending the visitors’ second penalty corner and retain parity at half time.
Ironically, just as it seemed that Germany were going to take the lead for the first time, it was Great Britain who went back in front just after the break, Evans threading the ball through to Susannah Townsend to score with a shot which bounced just over the goal-line and rebounded off the backboard., with Sarah Jones in close proximity.
The hosts missed a chance to extend their lead in the 38th minute from their first penalty corner. After Robertson was banished to beyond the halfway line for taking too long to inject the ball, Izzy Petter deflected the ball over the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards, Crackles made her second visit to the sin-bin after seeing yellow, having experienced green in the first quarter and Germany took full advantage, Micheel levelling with an angled shot from the edge of the circle which evaded Hinch and was perfectly placed inside the left post.
The teams exchanged penalty corners as time started to run out in the third quarter and in the fourth, Pauline Heinz set up a one on one situation for Emma Boermans with Hinch, but Boermans couldn’t keep her composure and wasted the opportunity.
Great Britain were also frustrated as the ball wouldn’t fall for Robertson or McCallin and with three minutes to play and with a shootout increasingly becoming a possibility, Charlotte Stapenhorst broke British hearts with the deciding goal.
Hinch was pulled for the final three minutes as the hosts elected to try and earn at least a draw with eleven outfield players, but Germany successfully held out for a well-deserved win.
The teams meet for the second game of the doubleheader at 2000 on Thursday.
Scorers: Sarah Robertson 11-F, Susannah Townsend 32-F
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK), Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Sarah Jones, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Fiona Crackles.
Subs: Leah Wilkinson (7 mins), Sarah Evans (8), Izzy Petter (8), Susannah Townsend (9), Grace Balsdon (9). Subs not used: Jo Hunter, Sabbie Heesh (GK).
Cards: Green: Fiona Crackles (14 mins), Sarah Jones (24). Yellow: Fiona Crackles (40).
Scorers: Jette Fleschütz 14-PC, Lena Micheel 41-F, Charlotte Stapenhorst 57-F.
Starters: Amelie Wortmann (Capt.), Lena Micheel, Charlotte Stapenhorst, Janne Müller-Wieland, Maike Schaunig, Julia Sonntag (GK), Franzisca Hauke, Viktoria Huse, Hanna Granitzki, Jette Fleschütz, Pauline Heinz.
Subs: Teresa Martin-Pelegrina (6 mins), Nele Aring (7), Liv Arndt (7), Katharina Kiefer (8), Lara Birkner (10), Emma Boermans (10).
Sub not used: Nathalie Kubalski (GK)
Umpires: Sarah Wilson (SCO) and Hannah Harrison (ENG)
Report: Colin Pike - 12 May 2021 - FIH Pro League - Women