Wolfsburg bounce back from Champions League defeat with win on opening night of Frauen-Bundesliga season
After a quick turnaround from one season to the next, Martin Whiteley takes a look at the Women’s football action from across the continent this past weekend.
Just five days after they trooped off the field in the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastián — having fallen at the final Champions League hurdle against Lyon — it was back to work for Wolfsburg as the next domestic campaign got underway.
Only four players who started against Lyon lined-up at kick-off against SGS Essen, but with the hosts having such strength in depth they were still able to record a 3-0 win, including a Lena Oberdorf brace.
For the last four years, Bayern Munich have finished second to Wolfsburg and their quest to try and regain the league title started with a home game against SC Sand. Leading 2-0 at the break the hosts pressed home their advantage in the second half to run out 6-0 winners.
A third-place finish in Germany this term will now carry the added bonus of Champions League qualification. Hoffenheim was the team who just missed out on Europe when the previous campaign concluded and in their opening contest, they visited Turbine Potsdam, the side who had finished a spot below them.
The home side came out on top on both occasions last season when these two sides met, and that pattern continued this time around too with Turbine Potsdam able to secure a 3-1 victory.
To add to Hoffenheim’s woes Luana Bühler was dismissed after she received a second yellow card in the 77th minute.
Although they have not won the league since 2008 FFC Frankfurt still hold the record for the most Frauen-Bundesliga titles with seven. This season they will play under the Eintracht Frankfurt name after a merger between the clubs started on 1 July.
Newly promoted Werder Bremen were the first visitors for Eintracht Frankfurt, and it was the away team that got on the board early on.
On the back of a brace from Laura Freigang, the hosts were able to turn things around with five goals of their own to take maximum points.
The second side to gain promotion was Meppen — making their debut as a top-flight side — and they came away from a trip to MSV Duisburg with a scoreless draw.
Bayer Leverkusen just managed to avoid the drop last term and going into the final stages of their game away to Freiburg it looked like they would taste another defeat as they trailed by a single goal.
Any manager is always happy when the substitutes they make have an impact, so coach Achim Feifel must be ecstatic after this game.
In the 87th minute Gianna Rackow — on the pitch for only five minutes — grabbed an equaliser before Henrietta Csiszár scored the winner four minutes later.
Statement results for Lyon and PSG as Feminine Division 1 action returns
With little time to celebrate their fifth straight Champions League success, Lyon were back in domestic action just a week later.
The pride and professionalism from the side that has won 14 consecutive league titles was again on show as Lyon seamlessly switched to their next challenge. Amazingly the champions have remained unbeaten in league play since December 2016 — when they suffered a 1-0 reversal away to PSG — and winning another trophy was not going to see them lose any focus that would change that.
Playing in the final fixture of the round Lyon powered to a 4-0 success at home to Paris FC. Saki Kumagai, who signed a contract extension in the summer, scored two.
After being suspended for last week’s final, England International Nikita Parris was back to lead the attack. National team colleague Jodie Taylor had to settle for a place on the bench but she made an appearance in the second half. New signings Ellie Carpenter and France International Sakina Karchaoui fitted seamlessly into the full-back spots in place of the departed Lionesses duo of Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood.
The previous evening serial runners-up PSG had started their campaign on home soil against Guingamp. Scoreless at the interval, Kadidiatou Diani bagged a hat-trick as the hosts eased to a 4-1 victory.
Just like in Germany an extra Champions League place is now also on offer in France.
Bordeaux, with 37 points, and Montpellier, who ended on 30, had battled it out for third position in the table last term. Both sides could only take one point from their day trips to get this season underway.
In command at 4-1 up, Bordeaux got pegged back to 4-4 against Reims. The visitors had overcome the concession of an early goal thanks to a brace each from Katja Snoeijs and Khadija Shaw to be in total control of the game just past the hour-mark. The home side started their revival with a 68th-minute own goal from goalkeeper Romane Bruneau and they completed their comeback when Rachel Corboz converted a 90th-minute penalty.
In a much less dramatic game, Montpellier were held to a scoreless draw against Fleury 91.
Soyaux and Le Havre were the other teams to register maximum points on the opening weekend.
Despite ending with 10 players after Anais Dumont had picked-up her second yellow card in second-half stoppage time, Soyaux were able to see out time to defeat Dijon 2-1. Meanwhile, in a battle between the two newly-promoted teams, Le Havre travelled to Issy and won 4-0.
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