After winning three consecutive games in the ongoing FIH Pro League against China and Spain, India women’s hockey team lost their second encounter in the double header against Spain 4-3. On this weekend, the Savita Punia-led side will take on the fifth-ranked Germany at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar and hope to get back to winning ways in their campaign before they take on England next.

Meanwhile, Lisa Nolte’s Germany are returning to their Pro League campaign against India, winless after failing to register points in the double header against Belgium back in October. Heading into the tie with a relatively young squad, the Germans would be hoping to register their first win of the campaign and take some confidence in before they head back home for their upcoming challenge against Spain and USA this month.

Following the announcement of the 22-player-squad for the Germany tie, Chief Coach of Indian women’s hockey team Janneke Schopman said, “Germany is a very consistent team with probably the best basic skills around the world. They defend very well and are quick to attack. I feel we have selected a nice mix of young talent and experience and we’re looking to build on our performance against Spain.”

India last played against Germany at the Tokyo Olympics where they suffered a 0-2 defeat in the Pool A match. Overall, the two teams have faced off against each other five times since 2006, and India have won only once.

India vs Germany Head to Head Record | FIH Pro League

Who’s saying what

Earlier in the week, midfielder Navjot Kaur revealed in a virtual press conference that the team was training by closely looking at Germany’s penalty corner routines. However, she also clarified that they were not focusing on Germany’s lack of wins in the league as an advantage per se.

“Modern hockey is a fast game and the team that puts in the extra effort on a particular day wins the game. We are not taking Germany lightly and they are a challenging side to take on,” she said.

On Friday, Captain Savita Punia addressed a virtual press conference ahead of the double-header against Germany on March 12 and 13. She said, “We know that Germany is a team strong on defence, so in the two-week break, we have been focusing on how to attack and the areas we can improvise upon. We have continued to work on our strengths - the penalty corner attack and the penalty corner defence. We played well against Germany in the Olympics.”

She also added that since the arrival of Janneke Schopman as their coach and since they acquired experience of facing more opponents, they have started focusing on training to build their mental strength as well. According to her, in today’s times, mental strength is just as important as fitness and hockey skills because it enables them to handle pressure situations better.

“Germany is a good team. We are very happy that we are competing against the top teams in Pro League. We will try to execute the areas we have focused upon during training in the games against Germany.”

Vice-Captain Deep Grace Ekka said, “Fitness will be an important key against Germany. We have improved our fitness levels a lot in the past few years. Now, we feel we can face any team that comes in front of us and win matches. Hopefully, we will deliver a strong performance against Germany as well,” Ekka said.

Meanwhile, captain Lisa Nolte in the pre-match press conference mentioned that the challenge in the upcoming tie was her assessment of the Indian team as very fast and skillful, coupled with her assessment of the conditions they will play in at Bhubaneswar.

She said, “The weather is so hot. It could be an advantage for the Indian girls and a disadvantage for us but we are optimistic we will handle the pressure and hopefully deliver a good performance.”

German midfielder Pauline Heinz, “We see India as a strong team. Especially after seeing them perform so well at the Olympics. It’s always difficult to play against them because they are aggressive on the defence. They also have very fast counters.”

The players also added that the Germans were using cooling jackets and cold towels during the training to acclimatise with the hot weather conditions.

India squad:

Savita Punia (C) (GK), Bichu Devi Kharibam (GK), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Akshata, Abaso Dhekale, Nisha, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jyoti, Monika, Neha, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Rajwinder Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari, Mariana Kujur, Deepika.

FIH Pro League Schedule for India women’s hockey team:

March 12, Saturday: India vs Germany

March 13, Sunday: India vs Germany

April 2, Saturday: India vs England

April 3, Sunday: India vs England

June 11, Saturday: Belgium vs India

June 12, Sunday: Belgium vs India

June 18, Saturday: India vs Argentina

June 19, Sunday: India vs Argentina

June 21, Tuesday: USA vs India

June 22, Wednesday: USA vs India

Germany squad:

Lisa Nolte (C), Pauline Heinz, Lilly Stoffelsma, Sara Strauss, Jette Fleschütz, Linnea Weidemann, Jule Blueuel, Julia Hemmerle, Nike Beckhaus, Mali Wichmann (GK), Stine Kurzz, Ida-Marie Köllinger, Lena Frerichs, Felicia Wiedermann, Emily Günther, Inma Hofmeister, Maja Sielaff (GK), Carlotta Sippel.

FIH Pro League Schedule for Germany women’s hockey team :

March 12, Saturday: India vs Germany

March 13, Sunday: India vs Germany

March 22, Tuesday: Germany vs Spain

March 23, Wednesday: Germany vs Spain

March 26, Saturday: Germany vs USA

March 27, Sunday: Germany vs USA

May 04, Wednesday: Germany vs England

May 05, Thursday: Germany vs England

May 21, Saturday: Germany vs Argentina

May 22, Sunday: Germany vs Argentina

June 11, Saturday: Germany vs Netherlands

June 12, Sunday: Germany vs Netherlands

June 25, Saturday: China vs Germany

June 26, Sunday: China vs Germany

Both India women’s hockey team vs Germany women’s hockey team matches will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD, and Hotstar on March 12 and March 13 at 5 pm.