After first and second leg against the Scottish League Cup winners Hibernian Ladies from Edinburgh the aggregate score was 10-1 for Bayern.
No comparison to the two draws in the previous year, where the team went out due to the away goals rule against Twente Enschede in the round of 16 in the Champions League.
In the league the team is sitting in sixth place after four matchdays. In every game Bayern scored exactly once. Twice it was sufficient for a win (away in Jena and Leverkusen respectively), once for a draw (at home against Freiburg) and at the home game against Wolfsburg it for a 1-2 loss. Opposed to last season, one goal per game despite good defensive performances seems apparently not enough to compete with the leaders.
Has the penny dropped?
Though every goal has to be put into the back of the net, for the league the Cup results aren’t really meaningful. The opponents were simply too weak. FC Riegelsberg meets up two times a week for practice. The Scottish league is all about the duels between the Hibs and Glasgow City. Yes, some Hibs feature in the Scottish national team, but many of the big Scottish talents are playing abroad. Mostly in the Women’s Premier League or, like Lisa Evans, in Germany for Bayern.
For the goal ratio in the league all the wonderful goals in Cup and Champions League are irrelevant. But for the knack of scoring, every single one indeed does count. When facing Bayern, underdogs often prefer a compact, aggressive, self-sacrificing, well-organised defence over a plan to attack. In the last matches, Wörle’s team had the opportunity to try and break down defensive walls through creativity, clean technique, high pass rhythms and positional play. FC Bayern solved this task outstandingly well.
Rotation displays depth of the squad
We can take a second aspect from the festival games (weeks), too. While Wörle fielded 14 starters in the four league games, it were 20 including Cup and Champions League. Admittedly, there are nine players that have started five or six times in the seven official matches (Korpela, Holstad, Schnaderbeck, Lewandowski (1 goal), Behringer (2 penalty goals), Leupolz (4 goals), Däbritz, Miedema (6 goals), Faißt). However, Wörle wasn’t afraid to rely on fresh legs for the tense do-or-die matches.
Manuela Zinsberger protected the goal in Cup and second leg of the CL fixture, Caroline Abbé got to play in the Cup, Carina Wenninger even in the first league game already. Stefanie van der Gragt is immediately a key player in her new team with four goals in four games, same goes for former Wolfsburg player Verena Faißt. Mana Iwabuchi is currently below her capacity with two starts. Lisa Evans was able to highlight herself as an important factor and goal scorer in four starts, including two against her compatriots. Claire Falknor as well as Nicole Rolser netted twice against Riegelsberg, for what Rolser was rewarded with another Champions League appearance. Even Melike Pekel, the Turkish international from the second team, scored in the Cup. There’s no way past Leonie Maier (4 starts, 2 goals) anyway.
A comeback and two new signings – or was it the other way around?
Three personnel should still find a special mention through all the impressive numbers. On one hand Anna Gerhardt convinced with her four goals in two starting matches (Cup and Champions League second leg). Not only her goals left behind a good impression. The talent from Cologne contributes to the wing play of Bayern impressively. Granted, in the follow-up in terms of vision and decision making there’s still a lot of potential but that’s what practice and game time are for.
Furthermore, Simone Laudehr made her first appearance for FC Bayern since she’s left the club for Duisburg and Frankfurt twelve years ago. After the injury she received in the first game of the German national team at the Olympics, she recently joined team training and inhaled roughly 20 minutes of Champions League air on Wednesday. Whether or nor she can contribute to the quality of the Reds is out of question, as long as she stays healthy.
The most emotional message, however, is Katharina Baunach starting two games in a row and delivering 160 minutes of highly competitive football for Bayern after a long period of suffering and multiple set-backs (English interview). Coach Wörle emphasised several times how well he could do with her fine left foot and edge against compact defences.
This leaves this conclusion: Statistical walkovers get FC Bayern to the next knockout rounds and are priceless for the mind. Next chance to prove: SC Sand. The club who’s responsible for missing out on the Cup final in spring.