Germany's World Cup squad announcement was overshadowed by reaction to Bayern Munich's decision to release their players at a date that was "contrary to agreements made at the start of the year".
Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has expressed her frustration at Bayern Munich’s refusal to release their German players at the previously agreed upon date for the World Cup.
On Wednesday, the German Football Association (DFB) named a provisional 28-player squad for the upcoming tournament in Australia and New Zealand, which begins on July 20.
Voss-Tecklenburg told the press conference during the squad announcement that German clubs and the DFB had made an agreement in March to have players released to the national team on June 20. But the Bundesliga champions are now delaying the discharge to June 23.
"I'll leave the players out of this because they’re in a difficult situation," the Germany head coach said. "Bayern said the reason was because they feel the players need four weeks' vacation and it's a precaution. There were many injuries."
"It’s unfortunate because there are legitimate things that are now too late to think about. But we accept the situation and will try to do the best we can."
Five players from Bayern Munich (Carolin Simon, Klara Bühl, Sydney Lohmann, Lina Magull and Lea Schüller) made the initial squad.
"I've been working with the DFB for over 20 years, and I know Bayern to be a very reliable and committed partner," said National Team Sporting Director Panagitotis Chatzialexiou. "I believe that, when agreements are made, they have always been kept."
"Now, they have broken their word and that is very, very disappointing, because I can’t understand the reasons."
"We're talking about three days, but three days are very helpful and meaningful for us, I think it's disrespectful of the other clubs that are releasing their players and that’s what we’ve communicated."
"We knew this tournament would be a big challenge, both logistically and in terms of scheduling. We did our homework, carried out the training plans, preparations, contracts with international opponents."
"We were still in talks to find a solution until yesterday evening. But, when a decision is made, you have to accept it."
Meanwhile, the provisional squad saw the Munich pair Giulia Gwinn and Linda Dallmann miss out on selection as they continue to recover from injury.
Gwinn tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee, which required surgery, while training with the national team last October, and Dallmann is still recuperating from torn ankle ligaments.
Speaking about 23-year-old defender Gwinn, who was one of five German players named in last year's EURO 2022 team of the tournament, Voss-Tecklenburg sought to focus on the future.
"She has had a very serious injury," she said. "She is ahead of schedule, but she still hasn’t been able to participate in team or contact training."
"In the end, we made a clear decision to make a decision for the future. She will hopefully be involved in many tournaments in the future."
Hoffenheim pair Sarai Linder and Paulina Krumbiegel and MSV Duisburg goalkeeper Ena Mahmutovic were surprise announcements for the 28-player squad, which will be trimmed down to 23.
Voss-Tecklenburg said discussions were still ongoing with FIFA about the exact squad number that would allowed to be selected for the tournament, with it possibly being extended to 24.
The German head coach, along with her England counterpart Sarina Wiegman, discussed the proposal for a 26-player squad with FIFA, as was allowed at the men's World Cup in Qatar, at the Women's World Cup finals draw in October. But the proposal was rejected by football's governing body in December.
Germany's provisional squad will convene for two training camps, with friendlies scheduled against Vietnam (June 24) and Zambia (July 7), and players will be allowed to return home in between.
Should Chelsea midfielder Melaine Leupolz, who returned to action in late January after giving birth, make the final cut, Voss-Tecklenburg said support had been put in place to ensure the new mum could travel and compete with her newborn alongside her.
"Melanie is ready for the long journey with her little son and will bring support with her," she added. "We have looked at everything on site in Australia and how the little group will be accommodated.
"It’s nice that we can do this now, that we can support our mothers who play football. We're pretty relaxed about it.
"A lot of players are probably already looking forward to playing nanny all day and entertaining the little man. We are prepared from all sides if it happens."