Three set pieces to glory: Bayern Women win against Freiburg

Jolle Separator February 23, 2017

After a stutter start at the beginning of the season, FC Bayern woman’s team picked up pace and marched to the top of the table just before the winter break. Nine games into the season, they had the opportunity to gain the top-spot by beating Potsdam in Munich, who at that time were just two point ahead of them. Unfortunately they lost 1-2. Nevertheless, one week later, it was a successful end to the first half of the season, when they managed to beat their other rivals from Essen with 3-0, and kept them at distance.

FC Bayern – SC Freiburg. Advertisement for women’s football

After the break, the team had to face another contender, SC Freiburg. Thomas Wörle was suspended for the game, makeing his assistant Roman Langer the man in power at the sideline.

SC Freiburg - FC Bayern Frauen, Grundaufstellung, 18.2.2017, Möslestadion, Allianz Frauenfußball Bundesliga, 2:3SC Freiburg 4-4-2 – FC Bayern Women 3-4-3/3-6-1, starting formations, 18.2.2017

FC Bayern woman’s team lined-up in a 3-4-3/3-6-1 formation with Gina Lewandowski as a defender due to the fact that neither Viktoria Schnaderbeck nor Stefanie van der Gragt were available. Freiburg played in a 4-4-2 formation.
The team pressured early at the start with a lot of speed, which lead to the early lead from a freekick by Melanie Behringer in the 4th minute.

At first it seemed like a header of Nora Holstad, but she did not touch the ball before it crossed the line.

In an aggressive match with many fouls there was not much space on both sides of the pitch. Freiburg only created opportunities from distance, while FC Bayern was able to open spaces over the left wing and the half space, as well. The opponent struggled with this kind of approach.

Especially in the first ten minutes FC Bayern played convincingly with their offensive style. Defence-wise they had some problems avoiding counter-attacks, so that Zinsberger had to clear two shots from outside of the box (9′ & 16′) by Kayikcis as well as a cross by Giulia Gwinn (10′).

Defensive approaches

Freiburg’s strikers Kayikci and Petermann tried to pressure FC Bayern when building up, but thanks to Holstand and Däbritz as central midfielders, they were always outnumbered and their actions had little effect. In general SC Freiburg defended with two lines deep into their territory and moved collectively over to the wings, while the Bavarians tried to act higher up the field when not in possession.

Freiburg turns up

After 15 minutes Freiburg got more control and had more chances as well. Petermann missed a close one in the 21st minute. Eveything changed, so that from now on FC Bayern had their opportunities from distance like Evans in the 23rd minute. Freiburg had more space and took over the midfield. FC Bayern was not able to play down the wings anymore, due to the fact that Freiburg isolated players in possession. Interceptions, bad passes and non-effective attacks were the results.

Playing over the wings in combination with fast switches was exactly what worked for Freiburg in this phase of the game. After the match their coach stated that he saw it as a weapon against the three at the back formation of FC Bayern.

Many goal-scoring opportunities before halftime

Däbritz was the first Bayern player to make something happen offensively again in the 27th minute, but shortly afterwards Freiburg scored the equalizer. There were many opportunities to avoid their first goal but all tackles went wrong. As a result Caroline Simon finally fooled Leonie Maier and netted for the first time in this game.

After that, Freiburg tried to pick up momentum, but the box was too crowded to get through again. On the opposite site Behringer had two opportunities via freekick (39′) and corner (42′). Both teams could have taken the lead before halftime. Freiburg only came short after many shots in and around the six-yard-box as well as from a cross at half space with which Zinsberger had her struggles (45′). FC Bayern on the other side opened up space for Miedema with an exceptional pass of Behringer. Unfortunately her shot was too central and the referee called offside as well.

Same same – but different in the second half

The second half started exactly like the first one did, with a freekick by Behringer which resulted in a goal. This time Vivianne Miedema reached the ball with a header to make it 1:2 (49′).

The game picked up pace. In the 52nd minute Lahr had an opportunity to equalize after a great switch over the middle followed by another chance for Miedema who failed to get through three defenders in the six-yard-box (55′). Only seconds after that, Simon’s freekick was cleared by Zinsberger. FC Bayern tried to maintain control with the lead at hand but Freiburg was able to equalize via corner and a header by Lina Magull.

FC Bayern’s woman reacted perfectly and scored the decider following a corner as well. Nora Holstad, who missed her first chance of the game, put the ball into the net from a Behringer cross. Due to an injury, Holstad left the game just after her goal. Her replacement, Caroline Abbé, caused a penalty shortly after that to Freiburg, which was luckily saved by Manuela Zinsberger.

In the dying minutes of the game Freiburg tried everything but it was not enough, even though it would have been deserved. FC Bayern countered effectively and took quite some time of the clock. “The game was advertisement for women football”, Jens Scheurer said after the game. Both teams managed to play attractive football despite all fouls and set-pieces.

Three things we noticed

1. Zinsberger deserves the minutes

The term back-up-goalie does not fit properly in her case. In most other Bundesliga clubs Manuela Zinsberger would be a starter in goal. Her reflexes are impressive. Her physique and her appearance in general are incredible as well. On the line women will always be much more easily to beat due to their height and jumping-power. It is quite obvious that every woman in goal seems to be somewhat weaker in comparison to her male colleagues. Considering this, Manuela Zinsberger has to be one of the best in woman’s football. Some of her saves against Freiburg were incredible.

Additionaly her technical and mental skillset is made to support the team’s high-pressure approach to defend. She acts as another option in build-up play or clears balls just past the half-way-line. Certainly not everything is perfect right now. Even in the game against Freiburg there were quite a few mistakes but with more minutes to come her performances will improve more and more – and she is only 21 years old.

Tinja-Riikka Korpela is an outstanding starter in goal but hopefully Zinsbegrer will get enough playing-time to develop even more and be a starter in the future for FC Bayern. She has the abilities to be Korpela’s successor to begin another era for the Reds.

2. Four goals from set-pieces

Both teams played incredibly well, although set-pieces were the deciding factors in the game. Assistant coach Langer stated that their focus on this kind of approach is due to the huge amount of players who are strong in the air. In addition to that, they have Behringer as an outstanding set-piece taker. Especially in close games those opportunities are valuable to have at hand, to make the difference.

Nevertheless, the first ten minutes should count as a target for future games, because the opponent had huge struggles to deal with this play-style. Unfortunately FC Bayern lost their flow and Miedema was not as effective anymore, which is also due to the defending abilities of the SC Freiburg defence.

3. Asymmetric wingers

Without Gina Lewandowski at left wing, Verena Faißt has had some great performances in her first season for FC Bayern. In contrast to Leonie Maier on the other side of the pitch, she kept the width and created vertical links with the respective attacking winger on her side. As a result FC Bayern was able to break trough the SC Freiburg defence several times. Running, technical abilities and courage are key elements Faißt brings to the table. Leonie Maier stuck to the half space on the other side, even in build-up play. She managed to push attacks forward by initiating one-twos with Carina Wenninger, with which she took of some load of Däbritz and Behinger as well. Only in the end when leading the game she made some runs down the right wing to relieve pressure for the last minutes.

Not everything works to perfection right now but if those performances result in three points everyone needs to be satisfied. There is still a lot to work on before the matchup against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, but it looks promising.

SC Freiburg – FC Bayern
SC Freiburg Benkarth – Lahr (78. Bühl), Puntigam, Schiewe, Fellhauer – Simon, Zehnder (78. Maier), Magull, Gwinn (86. Starke) – Kayikci, Petermann
Bench Ravn, Minge, Hegenauer, Wagner
FC Bayern Zinsberger – Lewandowski, Holstad (72. Abbé), Wenninger – Faißt, Behringer, Däbritz, Maier – Evans (82. Bürki), Miedema, Rolser (90+2. Leupolz)
Bench Korpela, Baunach, Lotzen, Gerhardt
Goals 0-1 Behringer (4.), 1-1 Simon (31.), 1-2 Miedema (49.), 2-2 Petermann (63.), 2-3 Holstad (69.)
Cards Yellow: Simon (48.) / Däbritz (57.), Behringer (60.)
Referees Ines Appelmann (Alzey), Christina Biehl (Siesbach), Fabienne Michel (Gau-Odernheim)
Attendance 1,227

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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