Both teams are still competing in all three competitions and thus it was a question of how much energy each team was able to bring into the league game tucked in between the knock-out games in the DFB Pokal and the Champions League. The game was as relevant nonetheless, because of its impact on the potential qualification for next season’s Champions League campaign.
The depth in their squad made Wolfsburg the favourites. They were also missing important players like Elise Bussaglia, but Bayern’s list of unavailable players was record-setting, including Simone Laudehr, Nora Holstad, Melanie Leupolz, Stefanie van der Gragt, Mana Iwabuchi, Anna Gerhardt, Viktoria Schnaderbeck, and Sarah Romert.
As usual, Wörle’s team played with a back-three. Baunach was deployed on the left wing due to Leonie Maier’s return to the starting XI. After also playing with a back-three in the last league encounter, Wolfsburg started with a 4-3-2-1 formation, which became a 4-4-2 without the ball and Popp dropping back to be the second number six. The offensive formation created a dominant build-up play with many passing connections in the middle of the pitch and with lots of room on the wings to sprint into after switches of play.
— WoSo Comps (@WoSoComps) 19. März 2017
— WoSo Comps (@WoSoComps) 19. März 2017
Three things we noticed
1. 10-15 percent went missing
Bayern good. Wolfsburg better. That’s the simple truth about the match and the current power situation in the league. FC Bayern women are not only missing a ton of players that are capable of turning a close game into a narrow victory, but the remaining players are also not playing up to their full potential.
After years of continued big successes the team is in a stretch of underperformance. In these situations the remaining healthy players are lacking the final percentage points, which are somehow available during a good run when the end product exceeds the sum of the individual pieces.
Tom Wörle continues to hone the skills and further develop the current system with the back-three, which was part of two league titles and impressively good, stable and attractive football, but the opponents have adapted to the system. Furthermore, it can be speculated, the players might have gotten too used to the system and thus the eagerness to learn, implement, and optimize the system has diminished within the team and the new players weren’t able to provide the necessary drive to keep the process going.
That’s very understandable. It will be a tremendous task to pull oneself out of the slump and to recover the necessary momentum. Wolfsburg and Potsdam might as well drop some points until the end of the season. The potential Champions League qualification has to be the main motivation now for the few remaining players to give it their all for the remainder of the season.
Despite Bayern’s weaker position, they were able to keep the game close with the chance to even score the late equalizer. This demonstrates that with only a few extra percentage points the final result could have looked a lot different.
2. Defence took the hardest blow
Repeatedly Wolfsburg’s players had the chance to increase the score line. It could have been 3-0 or 4-1 at half-time.
How Harder and Hansen were able to exploit the space between the lines was something that Bayern should have prevented. Luckily Hansen wasted her chance in the 28the minute, but only minutes later she flew past two defenders. Lewandowski’s bad positioning caused the 1-0. But instead of Lewandowski, Wenninger, Abbé the regular first team back-three usually consists of Schnaderbeck, Holstad, van der Gragt. And before them Behringer and Leupolz usually break up the attacks towards the Bayern goal and also initiate the own attacking plays with their physicality and their technical skills.
All of these weapons are currently unavailable the rampant defence is doing an okay job. Coordinated movements, clear processes, trust and blind faith are the cornerstones of defensive work. Despite all the effort the current players are bringing onto the pitch, these aspects simply don’t appear overnight. Unfortunately, VfL Wolfsburg was the stress test, which simply wasn’t a test.
3. The youth players are pulling their weight
One player’s absence is another player’s chance. Two 16-year-olds got their chance in the top game against the VfL: Sidney Lohmann started on the left number eight position, Verena Wieder replaced Leonie Maier on the right wing with 30 minutes to go. Both had a good game.
TALENT: Sydney Lohmann (Bayern München 🇩🇪). I'm impressed. She's 16. pic.twitter.com/yPNh9w4EA7
— WoSoNews (@WoSoReactions) 19. März 2017
Lohmann already demonstrated her fine eye for movements and spaces in the first half, when she was a save passing option together with Katharina Baunach in the left half-space and the supported Melanie Behringer in the centre. After 60 minutes she had one shot to her name, which went a little bit too high. Her performance will be most remembered for her “Zidane”, with which the almost instigated the equalizer in the 75th minute. During Wolfsburg’s build-up play the intercepted the ball, stepped on the ball to turn her body, delivered the pass to striker Rolser, whose shot was blocked.
Wieder also showed that she wasn’t put on the field out of pure desperation, when she fearlessly ran up and down her flank. Her best moment came after Miedema switched play to her side and she laid off the ball to Däbritz towards the centre, just with enough angle and speed to let her defender run past the pass. Däbritz was unable to set-up, because she was caught up in between a mess of white and green players (73′).
Only one day after the match against VfL Wolfsburg both youngsters signed their professional contracts (2019), making them official first team players. Only one year ago Lohmann and Wieder came to Bayern to play in the Under-17s team and they were quickly promoted to the reserves. The first impression was promising. The fearless eagerness can only have a good impact on the current team.
|VfL Wolfsburg – FC Bayern|
|Wolfsburg||Schult – Blässe, Fischer, Peter, Maritz – Dickenmann (69. Kerschowski), Gunnarsdóttirs, Wuellert (55. Bernauer) – Popp, Harder (88. Mittag) – Hansen|
|FC Bayern||Korpela – Lewandowski, Wenninger, Abbé – Baunach, Lohmann, Behringer, Däbritz (82. Lotzen), Maier (62. Wieder) – Rolfö (46. Rolser), Miedema|
|Bench||Zinsberger, Evans, Bürki|
|Goals||1-0 Harder (14.), 2-0 Kerschowski (83.)|
|Cards||Yellow: Fischer (17.), Bernauer (67.), Popp (70.) / Behringer (41.)|
|Match officials||Katrin Rafalski (Bad Zwesten), Vanessa Arlt (Greven), Isabel Steinke (Tönisvorst), Nadine Westerhoff (Castrop-Rauxel)|