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Germany forced to plan without key midfielder for Euro clash with Ireland

Sara Däbritz has sustained an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury while on club duty with PSG.

Sara Däbritz playing against Ukraine in October.
Sara Däbritz playing against Ukraine in October.
Image: Firo Sportphoto/Jürgen Fromme

ONE OF GERMANY’s key players will be absent when they resume their 2021 European Championship qualifying campaign with a game against Ireland next year.

Paris Saint-Germain revealed today that midfielder Sara Däbritz ruptured her anterior cruciate knee ligament while playing for the French club in a 1-1 draw against Montpellier on Saturday.

The injury will certainly rule Däbritz out for Germany’s home game against Vera Pauw’s side on 11 April. The 24-year-old will also be under pressure to recover in time for the return fixture in Ireland, which is scheduled for 22 September.

While the absence of Däbritz won’t alter Germany’s status as heavy favourites for both games, it’s a significant blow nevertheless for the Group I leaders.

The former Bayern Munich player, who joined PSG earlier this year, was a member of the German sides that were victorious at the 2013 European Championships and the 2016 Olympics.

Däbritz scored three times at the 2019 World Cup before Germany suffered a quarter-final elimination at the hands of Sweden. She also chipped in with a hat-trick as they ran out 8-0 winners over Ukraine in a Euro 2021 qualifier in September.

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vera-pauw Ireland manager Vera Pauw issues instructions during her side's 1-1 draw with Greece in November. Source: Greg Hellas/INPHO

The Guardian’s list of the 100 best female footballers in the world for 2019, which was published last week, ranked Däbritz at 37th. Only two German players — Dzsenifer Marozsán (13th) and Alex Popp (23rd) — were placed higher. In 65th place, Denise O’Sullivan was Ireland’s sole representative.

Germany have made a blistering start to their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign, scoring 31 goals and conceding none as they sit atop Group I with maximum points from their four games played. Ireland, who have a game in hand, are five points adrift in second.

The Girls in Green suffered a setback last month when they coughed up a stoppage-time equaliser away to Greece. Before taking on the might of Germany, they’ll welcome the Greeks to Dublin on 6 March and travel to play Montenegro five days later.

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Paul Dollery

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