DFB goalkeeper Almuth Schult: One of the best - sports
Almuth Schult felt infinitely tired, as if all her energy had flown away, just like that, in an unnoticed moment. She had a fever, not so wild, she thought, but it did not get better. Schult lost weight, her conjunctiva inflamed, the liver, and finally the gums. Instead of catching balls at VfL Wolfsburg's training camp in Portugal, the goalkeeper lay in bed in a specialist hospital in Hamburg in February. With measles, which she had not vaccinated against because she thought she had already fought the virus as a child. And when she could do nothing more, when she was even too weak to talk, she found back to her strength. At first not on the football field. But in the head. And maybe that makes her particularly dangerous at the World Cup in France.
Germany has reached the round of 16 as a group first and meets in Grenoble on Saturday on Nigeria. In the other groups bizarre constellations had arisen, only on Thursday night, as Chile with a missed penalty to get ahead, Nigeria was with star player Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona) as a German opponent - and not, as feared, Brazil.
In addition to the USA, the team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is the only one who has finished the preliminary round without conceding. While this was mainly due to the fact that they hardly allowed a chance of opponents with their hard-to-tame offensive urge, it was in the case of Germany also the parades of Almuth Schult, their presence and charisma in the gate, the intimidating for the opponents work - and driving for the teammates.
First the measles disease, then a shoulder injury
"That was the hardest and most challenging time for me," said 28-year-old Schult in Montpellier a few days ago about the past winter, which seems to be so far away: "I'm glad that's all over. It was not an easy half-year, I'm just happy to be in shape here at the World Cup. "
When Schult had halfway over the illness, she visited the coach of the German national goalkeepers in the hospital. Michael Fuchs experienced a frustrated goalkeeper, who at the time clearly felt how quickly you can lose something in life that you do not want to lose. But he also saw a goalkeeper who talked about their plans in the next moment, thought about their return. And she counted how many weeks she had left to be healthy and well-trained again until the World Cup. Because Schult does not accept a standstill in the head, even if the body has signaled it that way. That alone gives her a certain invincibility.
The measles disease followed at the end of the season of the Bundesliga a shoulder injury. It was a modest first half of 2019, but Schult also overcame this injury because this World Cup is a special one: her first as "number one", sometimes forgotten because Schult has been around for a long time. But the national football team not only had outstanding goalkeepers in the field, they also had outstanding goalkeepers who had to wait a long time to show themselves. Schult's predecessor Nadine Angerer made her debut in 1996 - until she became the first goalkeeper after Silke Rottenberg, seven and a half years passed. Schult's first major tournament was the 2011 World Cup in their own country, which became number one in September 2015, after Angerer's resignation. This is also a strength: to be able to wait, to work stubbornly - and then to be there at the decisive moment.