Kathrin Hendrich is caught between two worlds. She may have fans on both sides of the border when Germany takes on Belgium on Sunday – but the defender doesn’t regret choosing Germany over her country of birth.
When the German national player Kathrin Hendrich takes to the field against Belgium on Sunday in Aachen, the 28-year-old will find a friend rather than an enemy on the other side of the field.
«Because of my history, my dual nationality, I have a special relationship with Belgium. So the overall game will undoubtedly be special for me.»
The game is just friendly, but Hendrich’s connections with both parties on the border are profound. It was founded in Eupen, Belgium, just 16 kilometers from the German city of Aachen. Her father is German, her mother Belgian and she played soccer in her native country until the age of 14 , first with her local club Eupen and then with Teutonia Weiden.
She made the jump to Germany in 2009 after moving to the second division Bayer Leverkusen. After the club’s rise in 2010, the defender got her first taste of top football. Their performances caught the attention of both the Belgian and German national teams.
«I saw the German national team on television. We had German television and they always showed the games of the women’s national team. That gave me a special connection,» she told reporters, including DW, at a recent press conference on the game. «I would always tell my mother and father that I would rather play for Germany, and I stuck to my decision. I am now happy that I took this path.»
It was a natural development. Hendrich has also represented the German national youth teams, but she has kept an eye on the Belgian team and says they are not a walkover.
«They have done really well over the past few years,» she said. «We have to step on the gas. They won’t allow us to.»
Germany will not allow Belgium either. The team is well on the way to qualifying for Euro 2022 with a perfect record last year. They scored 46 goals and conceded only once. However, the latest tournament results show that there is indeed room for improvement.
Hendrich plays here. She never really established herself as a celebrity. Even so, she has the flexibility that continues to make her a stylish option for the team to play effectively in defensive and defensive midfield. Then there is her very successful club career where she wins almost every trophy there is to be won. She won the Champions League with Frankfurt in 2015 and then moved to Bayern Munich, before moving to the Bundesliga winners Wolfsburg last year.
Hendrich continues to attract the attention of the best Bundesliga clubs, but at the national level, she has remained on the periphery since her debut in 2014. She failed to help make the final cut for the 2015 World Cup, and despite being selected for Euro 2017, she only performed once. But even with the ups and downs, Hendrich would be no different.
«I don’t regret choosing Germany. I’ve been here for several years now and I feel good here. This is a solid team with lots of young players who have great potential, not to mention the experienced and experienced players. » Player. It’s a fascinating mix. My decision was nothing against Belgium. «
So close and yet up to date
Due to the travel restrictions for coronavirus, the German team will undoubtedly have to do without some of the best players outside of the Bundesliga. That list includes Melanie Leupolz and Ann-Katrin Berger from Chelsea, Leonie Maier from Arsenal and Turid Knaak from Lena Petermann Atletico Madrid from Montpellier.
While Hendrich is cheered on by a family who cheers on both parties to the border, many of them could have made the short visit to Aachen under normal circumstances. Even so, the coronavirus pandemic has made this impossible.
«Needless to say, it will be nicer when my friends and family are in the stadium too,» she said. «I understand that my friends and family will no doubt be watching TV and they will give us their thumbs up. Hopefully for us and not Belgium.»