FC Bayern: “It was an extremely big year for women’s football” – Sport

FC Bayern: “It was an extremely big year for women’s football” – Sport

Sweeeeeeeet Caroliiiine – what else! Everyone was able to agree on this song at this last Munich women’s soccer evening of the year: the FC Bayern players, who did one last lap of honor after the final whistle. The new Bavarian Georgia Stanway from Blackburn anyway, it’s about the soundtrack of the European Championships that were so successful for England last summer. And of course the spectators who were singing along, after all, in 1840 they had once again slid to a largely meaningless Champions League game over dew snow to the campus stadium.

“Road to Eindhoven” was written on a banner there. Eindhoven is the venue for the next final of Champions League At the beginning of June. However, the game on Wednesday against Benfica Lisbon was a rather insignificant signpost there. Bayern were already in the quarter-finals and when group opponents FC Barcelona, ​​who were playing at the same time, took an early lead against outsiders Rosengard, it was clear that winning the group would no longer be possible.

“Honestly, we weren’t quite up to par today,” admitted coach Alexander Straus, “there wasn’t anything we could play for.” It made him all the happier that the team had demonstrated the will to still want to win. Klara Bühl scored both goals in a rather flattering 2-0 win (51′, 75′), Benfica could have gotten a penalty and had a number of good chances on top of that.

At the final whistle, Straus took another deep breath. Done, closing time. “Now” – his final analysis was approaching midnight – “is about to be a vacation.” The past few months have been the toughest of his coaching career. It was obvious from the players on the field that they felt the same way. “We all love to play football, no question about it. There were great games this year. But the last few weeks have also shown that the body needs a break,” said double goal scorer Bühl.

Many of the players are now regularly recognized on the street

What hadn’t they experienced in 2022? They came out of a pandemic year with few spectators, and suddenly the stadiums were full again – even though they were bigger. Last March, the Bayern players played for a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain in the Fröttmaninger Arena. The European Championship was the sporting highlight, and the national players flew to the USA for international matches. Many of them are now regularly recognized on the street.

“It was definitely an extremely big year for him women soccer“Said Sarah Zadrazil, who acted as captain on Wednesday. Lina Magull had taken a break before the break because of knee problems. “The EM has sparked such a hype here in Germany, I’m glad it lasted,” added the Austrian Zadrazil, it also makes her “a bit proud” that so many spectators are now coming. And she believes that interest will continue Arena take place: the Bundesliga home game against VfL Wolfsburg and the Champions League quarter-finals, which will not be drawn until long after Christmas, but only strong opponents would be waiting anyway, said Zadrazil.

In the opinion of coach Straus, the development has once again gained speed. He himself has only been a women’s coach for four years, before that the 47-year-old Norwegian coached men for eight years. “We’ve made huge strides since 2018 alone,” he says. The pace has increased enormously, “they are all top athletes now, and that’s why people now have a different view of it”. The club also have a “really exciting team” where he still sees potential for development. Since he arrived in the summer, there has only been a week of preparation time, “I knew that not everything would click right away,” says Straus. But the reason for the short preparation time is precisely that: professional life. This has other, indirect consequences, such as the fact that there are now many injured players. The most important protagonists of women’s football are in a rapid adjustment phase.

Bayern captain Magull said in a podcast in 2020 that it annoys her that women’s football is constantly being compared to men’s football, in terms of speed, for example. As has already happened in other sports, women’s football must be perceived as a separate discipline: as an original attraction. Judging by the number of viewers, this seems to have been successful in many places.

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