The women’s football landscape in Germany has long been dominated by Wolfsburg, but as Martin Whiteley writes, Bayern Munich’s recent result against the giants shows that this campaign may finish in favour of The Bavarians.
Having seen Wolfsburg lift the Frauen-Bundesliga trophy for the previous four seasons, Bayern Munich is now in pole position to claim a third league title of their own this campaign.
Sydney Lohmann opened the scoring for Bayern in the first half, while Ewa Pajor took Wolfsburg level in the 81st minute to set up a nerve-jangling conclusion for the visitors. The point for Bayern moved them onto a 55 total, which keeps them two points clear of the hosts with both sides still having two league games to play.
The first meeting between the top two sides back in November saw a flawless performance from Bayern – dominant from start to finish as they ran out 4-1 winners. It meant a lot – at the full time whistle, the side from Bavaria celebrated wildly at their accomplishment.
When the final whistle was blown by referee Franziska Wildfeuer on this more recent meeting, the reaction from the Bayern players was one of relief rather than pure joy.
Coming into their second meeting with the league leaders, Wolfsburg had done all they could to claw back the deficit – winning all 10 of the league games they played following that initial defeat to Bayern. They had also got the better of Bayern 2-0 in their DFB-Pokal Frauen semi-final contest.
As well as the domestic cup disappointment Bayern had also lost 3-2 at home to third-placed Hoffenheim in their next league game. That meant that Wolfsburg knew that if they could win the head-to-head battle, it would be them who would be sitting pretty at the top of the table.
One thing Bayern has been able to change in their favour this campaign is the ability to find the back of the net more frequently than Wolfsburg.
Currently, the leaders have scored 74 Frauen-Bundesliga goals, whilst Wolfsburg has only managed to record 60.
Last summer’s signing from SGS Essen Lea Schüller, who leads the scoring charts for Bayern with 13 league goals, is one of the reasons they have been able to increase their exploits in front of goal. Her impressive form shows exactly why she was recruited – netting 16 and 14 times in her last two seasons with the side from the North Rhine-Westphalia state.
Defensively Bayern has also tightened up the screws. New recruits Marina Hegering, also from Essen, and Sweden international Hanna Glas, brought in from PSG, have added stability, seeing them only concede nine league goals so far.
Coach Jens Scheuer, who joined Bayern in July 2019, has already been given a contract extension from the club’s management as of last December, rewarding him for the excellent work he has done. The former Freiburg’s women’s boss is now signed up with the league leaders until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
If Bayern can see the job through and pick up the trophy, the next step for them will be to follow that up with multiple successes. Being the hunted comes with different pressures that you need to overcome as all the other sides look to chase you down – something which Wolfsburg have dealt with exceptionally well until this season.
Follow Martin on Twitter at @673martin