MIASANROT AWARDS 2021/2022: FC BAYERN WOMEN – PLAYER OF THE SEASON
It is not at all easy to reach a verdict on the last season of the FC Bayern München women. The first half of the season went well with only some temporary setbacks here and there. In the second half of the season, however, the team suffered a severe slump, which was mainly characterised by a slew of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Accordingly, it is difficult to highlight individual performances.
In this strange season, there is not really one player who stood out from all the others. All had their ups and downs.
Therefore, we decided not to necessarily choose the player who made the biggest headlines. Instead, we chose the player who not only played a very important role in the team throughout the season, but also performed consistently at a high level.
And this player is Giulia Gwinn. Several times in the past we highlighted that the wide defensive positions in the team were not ideally cast. With Hanna Glas, there seemed to arise an outstanding right-back during the championship season. After the exhausting Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, the Swede almost never returned to her normal form this season.
The Olympic silver medallist remained far below her potential. On the left side, Caro Simon has increasingly found it more difficult to assert her regular place in recent months and years. Especially strong opponents more and more singled her out as the critical weak point in Bayern’s defence.
Therefore, a new signing for the wings seemed to be a logical move and, indeed, with Maxi Rall came a right winger with offensive drive who can double as a right defender. However, ultimately it surprisingly fell to Gwinn to be the player who with her consistency impressed us most.
After tearing her cruciate ligament in September 2020, Gwinn gradually worked her way back and played an outstanding season as a full-back. The 22-year-old was the only constant in the defence. As an originally trained offensive player, she also has qualities that make her a very modern full-back.
She brings everything that is needed in the full-back position. In modern football, defensive wingers are becoming more and more involved in the team’s build-up play. Coaches like Pep Guardiola sometimes have them routinely shift into midfield for this purpose. This season, Gwinn has shown several times that she possess and uses her role very flexibly and cleverly in a way Guardiola would have liked.
She moves intelligently on the pitch, often offering herself on the sidelines when her team needs width. But when Lina Magull or Sarah Zadrazil need support in the centre, she also tucks in. Gwinn is technically strong, fast and can assert herself under pressure – that makes her a very versatile tool in build-up play. At the same time, she can create a goal threat in attack.
Eight goals in 20 Bundesliga games is a good record. Even if Gwinn could sometimes show a bit more courage and take more risks. She is so strong in one-on-one situations that she could be even more involved in the offensive. It is unclear, however, to what extent coach Jens Scheuer wanted her to play with a focus on defensive protection in midfield and thus restrained her forward drive.
Gwinn was far from faultless. When she was the main culprit in conceding a goal or two, she did not always look good being the critical fault line in a larger chain of errors. In the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain, she was very active and livened up the game, but also had to realize two or three times that the way she had to cover when falling back was too far and her opponents too fast.
Nevertheless, she is on a very good path. Under the new coach Alexander Straus, she could become a key operator on the left wing. At SK Brann, the 46-year-old used a system in which the wing-backs were always actively involved in offensive play. That could suit Gwinn.
We also chose the German international because she not only performed consistently at a high level, but with her versatility was able to help out in several positions when called upon – offensively as well as defensively. Gwinn is nowhere near the end of her development – and that is exactly what makes us want more. At the European Championship in the summer, but also and above all at FC Bayern.