Captain of the German national team since 2019, Alexandra Popp has established herself as one of the stalwarts of the women’s game and the German national side since making her debut in 2010. A full-back-turned-forward, the 32-year-old will be carrying her nation’s hopes on her shoulders at the Women’s World Cup as she looks to avenge their heartbreaking defeat to England in Euro 2022 final last summer.
Born in Witten, in western Germany, Popp began her fledgling football career as a student at Gesamtschule Berger Feld in Gelsenkirchen. The elite footballing school trains players for the men’s Bundesliga side, Schalke, with Popp the only female student to attend the school courtesy of a special permit.
Having also played for mixed-gender teams at FC Silschede, Popp eventually got her first taste of senior football at Recklinghausen in the fourth tier of German football. Her stay there would last just one year with the then 17-year-old joining top-flight Duisburg in 2008 under the tutelage of the current national team manager, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
Popp would enjoy a hugely successful first season, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League and German Cup with Duisburg. She would follow that up the following season by retaining the German Cup with the season culminating in Popp making her debut for the senior national team in 2010.
After two further years, Popp transferred to Wolfsburg in 2012 where she remains today. Much like her debut season at Duisburg, Popp would hit the ground running at Wolfsburg with a famous treble-winning campaign that saw her side capture the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Frauen-Bundesliga and German Cup.
Her career at Wolfsburg went from strength to strength as Popp guided her side to a successful defence of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and Frauen-Bundesliga in the 2013-14 season.
Whilst her Wolfsburg side may not have tasted European glory since that 2014 season, they have been the dominant force in domestic German women’s football with her side winning the German Cup for nine-straight seasons while also winning the Frauen-Bundesliga on five occasions.
For the national team, Popp has also been a stalwart since her debut in 2010, scoring 62 goals in 128 appearances. Despite missing the final through injury, Popp scored eight goals as Germany went on to retain the Euros in 2013.
Having lost in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup, the national side would go on to claim gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2019, Popp would become captain of the national side ahead of the World Cup where they fell to Sweeden in the quarter-finals.
A heartbreaking injury in the warm-up for last year’s Euros finals prevented Popp from playing as England defeated Germany in extra time.