FC Bayern – Miasanrot Advent Calendar, Door 17: Klara Bühl
A guest article by Tobias Hahn.
22 March 2022, the game in the Allianz Arena is in the 83rd minute. Paris St. Germain is up 2-0, an unfortunate result from Bayern’s point of view. Up to now, FC Bayern had created the better chances, but had been denied twice by the post. Shots from good positions were blocked. The goals conceded came from set pieces that were not well defended.
In the 83rd minute of the game, however, there was a free kick. On the half-right, close to the 18 yard box. It was to be a first. Klara Bühl did not curl the free kick over the wall with a bend, but hit a hard straight into the goalkeeper’s near side. The then 21-year-old winger was the first goal scorer for FC Bayern in the Allianz Arena. And the Allianz Arena seems to suit her. In the recent furious 3-1 victory over a superior FC Barcelona side at the beginning of December, it was Bühl again who scored the opening goal in the Allianz Arena.
Women’s football has taken a great leap forward in the last few years. Starting with the new format of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, to the first matches in big stadiums, to the European Championship in the summer. There, the women’s team succeeded in doing what the men have been lacking for years: Playing with passion, grit, class and building a rapport with the fans.
Not only with the national team, but also with FC Bayern, Klara Bühl inspires me the most. The former Freiburg player plays with so much creativity but also generates so much penetrating power that it is always fun to watch her.
She usually plays on the left wing, but has also been used on the right for Bayern. Due to her two-footedness, she can create danger on both sides equally well. In general, her left foot is somewhat stronger. She prefers her left foot for most shots, such as the free kick against PSG. But she can also create danger with her right foot, as she proved in the second leg at Parc des Princes when she scored the opening goal.
In addition to her finishing strength, however, it is her dribbling that is most remarkable. Bühl regularly uses simple methods to show her opponents up and then accelerates or shoots directly. I haven’t found a better comparison yet, but sometimes she reminds me a bit of Arjen Robben. The Dutchman didn’t need any fancy tricks to get past the opponent either. Rather, it was a matter of keeping the opponent off balance and dipping the shoulder at the right moment.
While Robben’s movement from the right side to the inside looked always similar, Bühl has a somewhat larger repertoire. Especially her shifts of balance with the ball show high play intelligence and a good technique. In these moments, she usually faces the defender slightly diagonally, guides the ball with her right foot and makes an effort to shoot into the corner with her foot as well. The defender is more hesitant in the penalty area, as she does not want to cause a penalty. Bühl now takes advantage of a small shot feint, brings the defender off balance and pulls the ball in an arc with her right onto her left foot. As she brings the ball slightly forward and no longer has it close to her foot, she can immediately finish with her left. This rather simple trick is incredibly difficult to stop, as Bühl deliberately tries to pay attention to the behaviour of the defenders. Whether from the right or the left, she always gets a free shot at goal with the help of her movement.
But that’s not the only thing that excites me about her style of play. Klara Bühl always has the flair of a street footballer for me. She moves cleverly, uses unconventional tricks to throw her opponents of balance and doesn’t allow the same to happen to her even when the going gets rough. Her passing game in particular always seems to be evolving. Through balls behind the opponent’s back line would further refine her offensive repertoire. When you shift inside as a winger, the defence’s focus is very much on you. This focus ensures that your teammates have more space. As a result, feinted shots followed by a pass create a lot of danger. If Bühl manages to take another step here, she will be one of the best wingers in the world.
Women’s football cannot be compared to men’s football. The game is different. Among other things, this is probably due to the fact that the structures haven’t been as professional as in men’s football, and probably still are not in many places. Unlike the men’s game, however, this does not result in a rough, physical game to make up for skill, but a game that relies more on technique. The new approaches and the different game make women’s football so interesting for me. Players like Klara Bühl contribute to this rapid development. Let’s hope that the national player will continue to inspire us at FC Bayern in the years to come.