After the final whistle there was silence. Someone had forgotten the music in the stadium. But when the footballers from Eintracht Frankfurt had broken away from their circle and made their way across the lawn, it got loud again. There was so much applause, so much cheering, as if they had just reached a final. The competition had only just started. At the start of the Bundesliga season, there was a goalless, but passionately fought game against FC Bayern. From the outset, what was special about the evening was less about spectacular hits than about the context of this encounter. And it was indeed extraordinary.
23,200 visitors came on Friday, more than ever in the 33-year history of the women's Bundesliga. The previous record was set by the 12,464 spectators who watched the game between VfL Wolfsburg and 1. FFC Frankfurt in 2014. And now what was supposed to be achieved with the move from the Brentanobad to the large stadium in the city forest had been achieved: the enthusiasm all around the European Championship in England and the final of the German national team take with you into everyday life.
"That gave us wings, we felt it on the pitch," said Frankfurt international Laura Freigang. "If I could wish for one thing, we would be here every week." Bayern's Giulia Gwinn thought: "It was something very special for us and exactly what we had hoped for, that the euphoria would continue after the EM. It was very loud and it's something you absorb on the field."
The topic dominated the whole day in Frankfurt, before the evening game the German Football Association had invited to the forum "FF27 Women in Football". 27 because the DFB is applying with the Belgian and Dutch associations to host the 2027 World Cup. FF stands for Fast Forward, a spirit of optimism should now prevail more than ever women soccer further develop it and give it more attention over the long term. Last season, the average was less than 1,000 spectators per game - this should be significantly increased by next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The DFB sees a chance in Monday games for the women's Bundesliga
Sporting performance would develop through good framework conditions, said Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, and there were still some tasks to be done in this area: "These are so diverse topics, we still have a lot to do and there is good work to be done in the league advance the development potential," warned the national coach. "Now we have to be persistent, now we have to be persistent." Players would have to be secured, investments made permanently.
In the discussion, you often miss the aspect of what added value clubs would have from a girls' and women's football department. The integration helps all clubs to take the next step. Why is there a distinction between women and men in the target groups at all? "If I'm a fan, I'm a fan of a club."
A building block to increase awareness should also be the allocation of media rights for the years 2023 to 2027. Holger Blask, who is responsible for TV marketing as Managing Director of Marketing and Sales at the DFB, had previously spoken about Monday games as a unique selling point. On Friday he confirmed this move: "There will be a game on Monday night." The first, second and from next year also the third men's league decided against it, said Blask. "There is obviously potential here, there will only be the women's Bundesliga. The interest is there." Various TV packages have been put together that will be launched on September 29th. The respective media partner can help determine the kick-off time to a certain extent. A decision is expected to be made in October.
In the evening, the backdrop of the present had a lasting effect on everyone, which was seen as a sign of the potential that is now to be used. "It's a dream. Today everyone can be pretty proud of what was created here," said Siegfried Dietrich, general representative of Eintracht. "That has a signal effect for the women's Bundesliga - and certainly for the other clubs too."
Two more games, that's already certain, will soon take place on a large scale. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim welcomes Wolfsburg, the reigning champions and cup winners, to the Sinsheimer Stadion on the second day of the game on September 24th. The top game between VfL and FC Bayern (on the weekend of October 21-23) will take place in the Volkswagen Arena. So there could soon be a new viewer record.