It is now four years now since Bayern won the Frauen-Bundesliga and in that time they have tried to catch up with VfL Wolfsburg, who are quite rightly deemed to be the second-strongest team in Europe, behind Lyon.
In those four years they have tried to find the right recipe that will enable them to challenge for the league, searching for the right players who will add more quality. Or at least replace the quality players who have left, and there have been quite a few. Sara Däbritz (PSG), Fridolina Rolfö (Wolfsburg), Jill Roord (Arsenal) and most recently the captain, Melanie Leupolz, (Chelsea) are among those who have departed.
Players of that calibre are not easy to replace and there has been a change of manager too with Thomas Wörle leaving at the end of the 2018-19 season after nine years in charge. He was replaced by Jens Scheuer, who initially struggled to put his imprint on the team. For the first six months it was hard to see what the gameplan was. He experimented a lot but rarely was the attractive football he desires on display.
However, since the restart things have changed notably. Bayern have been playing much more fluid football. Scheuer switched to four at the back for the most part and has made only small changes to the line-up. It will now be interesting to see how Scheuer integrates the new signings into his side.
There are no new injuries to report. The goalkeeper Laura Benkarth was subbed off with a concussion last week, but should have recovered in time to feature against Lyon on Saturday. The German international Lea Schüller, who arrived from Essen this summer, should play her first game for the club and could prove vital up front.
Which players have the club signed this summer and can use from the quarter-finals?
There are normally a lot of arrivals at Bayern each summer and 2020 has been no different. The club have brought in Schüller, Sarah Zadrazil (Turbine Potsdam), Viviane Asseyi (Bordeaux), Marina Hegering (Essen), Hanna Glas (Paris St-Germain) and Klara Bühl (Freiburg). The new arrivals are an intriguing mix of youth and experience. They may not be household names but they are all internationals.
Hegering and Glas have come in to tighten up Bayern’s defence and the latter has started brightly in friendlies but Hegering has a niggling injury and may not be fit for the game against Lyon. The 18-year old Bühl, who scored Germany’s winner against England at Wembley last year, is the only player we are certain not to see in Spain for the resumption of the WCL as she is out with a shoulder injury.
Scheuer did not play at a high level himself and started coaching in the lower leagues, often at clubs he had played for, before taking over the FC Freiburg Women’s team in 2015. He took the team to new heights and they finished third in the league in 2017-18 and reached the cup final the following year. Scheuer wants his team to play attractive football and would prefer a 4-3 win to a 1-0 win.
This team is more about the collective but Simone Laudehr is certainly the most decorated player in the squad. She has won pretty much everything (apart from, strangely, the Frauen-Bundesliga). She has won the World Cup, the Euros and the Olympics with the German national team and the Champions League and the German Cup at club level. She started her senior career at Bayern Munich in 2003 but left the club after one season. After long spells with FCR Duisburg and FFC Frankfurt she returned in 2016. Not an automatic starter anymore but the club wants her around for at least another season to help the younger players.
Did you know?
After 251 games and 13 years at the club, Carina Wenninger is currently Bayern’s second longest-serving player after Thomas Müller. She was born in Thal, the same village as Arnold Schwarzenegger, and moved to Munich at the age of 16. While becoming a footballer she has also continued to study and has a Bachelor in Fitness and Health management. She is now targeting a Masters in the subject.
Which player could surprise everyone in Spain?
The midfielder Sydney Lohmann is a rough diamond that the club rates very highly and wants to protect. She suddenly developed into a starter after a long-term injury right at the beginning of the 2018-19 season. She has the capacity to become the next Melanie Leupolz, or indeed, Sara Däbritz.
What is the realistic aim for Bayern in the WCL?
The quarter-final opponents, Lyon, are the toughest team to play and they come very early for Bayern. Having said that, with ties being played as one-off games an upset is possible. If you only have once chance you have to take it.
Bayern Munich Women have been constant guests at the Champions League table since the 2015-16 season. Following two bitter knockouts at the early stages in 2015-16 against Twente and Chelsea in 2017-18, the team advanced to the semi-finals last year, but were then beaten by Barcelona.