Frauen-Bundesliga match preview: the clash of the title contenders, Bayern Munich vs. VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is no longer the leaders of the Frauen-Bundesliga, they rather have become the challengers. The reason for this is the phenomenal start Bayern Munich has had into the 20/21 season. The team impressed with 8 wins in 8 games but even more impressive is the fact that they haven’t conceded any goals in their league campaign so far. Bayern couldn’t have asked for a better start to this season. Without question, they are leading the table at the moment with 24 points scoring 26 goals. Wolfsburg are behind on the second spot on the table with 22 points due to a disappointing draw against the sixth-placed Freiburg.
Both the team is full of star-quality players, the other participators of the Frauen-Bundesliga are not really able to keep up with such quality and depth in their squads. Due to this, the important game for this season's title race becomes even more obvious.
Both sides are still unbeaten this season but at the moment Bayern seems to have the more solid defensive side. It’s up to Bayern to make sure that they’re able to keep their form for the rest of the season and keep Wolfsburg under control and it has to start with the highly anticipated title contender clash.
Both the meetings in the 2019/20 Frauen-Bundesliga season ended in a draw. The two teams played matched even and parted on level terms with the scoreline at 0:0 (21.06.20) and 1:1 (23.11.19.) in their last two league clashes. In each game 4 yellow cards were given, therefore a quite physical game can be expected. It also means the game intensity will be very high and it should be an entertaining game for every football fan.
After being out for two months due to a concussion she had picked up in the UWCL final against Lyon, Fridolina Rolfö is finally back on the pitch. Wolfsburg has been very unlucky in terms of injuries lately. Especially their attacking side has to compensate for the absence of Alexandra Popp, Pauline Bremer and Ewa Pajor. That is why it is all the more gratifying that the Swedish forward Fridolina Rolfö is able to participate again.
Bayern was pleased to announce the renewal of Sydney Lohmann’s contract last week. The promising talent was rested for the game against Meppen but can be expected in the starting line-up for the upcoming league clash. She has already scored 6 goals this season. Wolfsburg will be well advised to keep an eye on her attentively.
Ones to watch
Karina Saevik: The 24-year-old Norwegian was a last-minute deal for Wolfsburg during the transfer period this summer. She came from Paris-Saint-Germain and is supposed to strengthen the offensive line. Saevik has scored 1 in 6 appearances by now but hadn’t had a real breakthrough so far. Maybe she can prove her excellent qualities which she has already shown for the Norwegian national team, on Sunday.
Ingrid Engen: Engen is another young Norwegian talent in Wolfsburg’s squad. She has already taken a leading role in their central midfield playing her second season for the Wolves. She is capable of controlling the game and remains the engine of the team next to Lena Goeßling. The 22-year-old has impressed with great consistent performances lately.
Sydney Lohman: The young German midfielder turns out to be one of the key players for Bayern this season and is playing a significant role in their success so far. She is mostly supposed to operate in the defensive midfield but has already added 6 goals to her name. Wolfsburg will have to mark her very narrowly to get her out of the game and prevent any danger coming from her.
Viviane Asseyi: Bayern was pleased to sign the 26-year-old winger from FC Girondins Bordeaux. The French woman turns out to add brilliant qualities to their attacking play. She thrives on her pace and therefore could be a key weapon to overcome Wolfsburg’s defence.
What can be expected
Unlike last season, Bayern will look to dictate play. With the incredible forward depth the Munich side is having at the moment, Wolfsburg has to be prepared for high-tempo-attacking football. Bayern is having so many options on the forward positions, meaning that they with high intesity for the entire game due to their bench strength. Besides, a match could be decided on what extent Wolfsburg’s midfield and defence will be able to keep Bayern’s creative center in check, particularly Lina Magull, under control. The German playmaker is well-known for her incredible technical abilities and her unique way of reading the game.
Since 9 of their 26 scored goals so far this season were scored by defenders, a high-pressing backline on Bayern’s side can be expected. Wolfsburg will be looking to have a solid defensive structure perhaps by going for a back five with Goeßling and Oberdorf moving back to the defence and Engen as the only defensive midfielder instead of a double pivot, this was also proven in their previous clashes.
Both sides will also attempt to prevent set-pieces for their opponents. With Lina Magull on the one side and Dominique Janssen on the other side, each team is in hold of a set-piece specialist. Janssen has just recently proven her amazing free-kick skills. Last weekend she converted a free-kick directly from just outside the penalty area. And also Magull has already been able to shine this season due to brilliant converted free-kicks.
Of course, the title race will not be decided by this match, there are a lot of games still to be played but the game could have an important impact on the further outcome. Particularly it will not only affect their points and the positioning on the table, but it could prove to be a confidence booster going deep into the season.
Even VfL coach Stephan Lerch has said ahead of their game against Turbine Potsdam last weekend:
“We’re not allowed to make the mistake to think that this week will clinch the championship and the outcome of the further season.”
However, Wolfsburg’s mentality could be way more affected by a loss than the mentality of the Bayern players. Bayern obviously had the better start of the season and the Wolves have already struggled and even dropped points against supposedly much weaker teams like Freiburg and Duisburg. If they’ll lose against Bayern on Sunday it would be the negative sign for them that they are actually the weaker team this year as assumed by many ahead of the start of the current season. This would be a massive setback for players and club and would definitely affect their mindset at this point. It would show that they couldn’t keep the standard they set for themselves in their previous seasons perhaps as an outcome of their current injury-prone or rather the departures of important players during the transfer period this summer. Though, it is the standard of the Wolves’ to be the best team at least in Germany.
Bayern on the other hand seems to be unstoppable at the moment and are in a rich vein of form. With no conceded goal in the last 8 games, the team will go into the game full of confidence. Leading the table with 2 points in front of Wolfsburg and having won every one of their games so far dominantly, will definitely boost not only their confidence on the pitch but also their mental side massively. They are in a much better mental state to cope with a possible defeat. Since a loss would mean they would only be 1 point behind Wolfsburg in contrast to the Wolves’ being 5 points behind Bayern in terms of a defeat.
All in all this game will presumably be decided in the mind rather based on quality terms because surely both teams can shine with the players they have in their squads.
How to follow
NDR (TV & livestream)
BR (TV & livestream),
ARD Sportschau (livestream)