Sleeping giants Turbine Potsdam eye European place – but Germany’s elite stand in their way

After a promising start to the season, the Turbines are reviving memories of past glories while being true to their identity, writes Martin Whiteley.

Even though the three Frauen-Bundesliga Champions League representatives of Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim led the way going into the ninth round of games, the form table had a different look to it. Topping that particular chart was Turbine Potsdam with five straight league wins. 

The club had also progressed into the last eight of the DFB-Pokal Frauen, with an. An away trip against second-tier side Henstedt-Ulzburg between them and the semi-finals up next up for them. 

However, there will always be a stretch of games that shows how far teams still have to progress to reach the very top. For Turbine Potsdam, that time is now with four massive encounters to be played before the winter break. 

In the league, a trip to face Eintracht Frankfurt is on the horizon. That is followed by home games against Munich and Wolfsburg. First up, though, they welcomed Hoffenheim to the Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion last Sunday.

Although they failed to hold onto a 3-1 lead, the Turbines still managed to move up to 19 points in fifth place – just one point behind their visitors after the game ended in a 3-3 draw. A brace from Selina Cerci and a strike from Melissa Kossler earned the home side a valuable point in the race for European football. 

Of course, these fabulous runs were the norm when Turbine Potsdam were as busy lifting trophies both domestically and abroad. 

Their six German league titles still have them tied  with Wolfsburg in second, with only FFC Frankfurt — now Eintracht Frankfurt — above them having claimed one more. Twice the club was crowned champions of Europe, the last time in 2010.

To their credit, since their final last title in 2012 Turbine Potsdam haves nearly always managed to stay in the top four of the table. A seventh-placed finish in 2016 is the only exception.

Unlike while many female-only clubs in the past that have merged with men’s teams that wanted to add a women’s section without starting at the bottom, the Brandenburg- state outfit went another route.

In June 2020, it was announced that Turbine Potsdam and Hertha BSC had agreed on a cooperation deal initially for three years. With Potsdam and Berlin just around 20 miles apart, it was an ideal opportunity to strengthen football links in the area that would hopefully benefit both clubs.

Extra financial support was to be provided by Hertha to allow the Frauen-Bundesliga side to challenge the new establishment. Different brand and communication measures would also be worked on together as part of the arrangement.

With that added investment, Turbine Potsdam was able to entice Selina Cerci from newly-promoted Werder Bremen. The striker had netted 13 times in the second tier and in her first season back in the top flight she scored eight goals.

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On the back of that arrangement, Cerci has continued to flourish in year two. The pacey, robust attacker,, who is not afraid of a tackle, having already bagged six goals in nine league games this term.

Having a successful youth set-up is also vital to clubs like Turbine Potsdam. Not only does it help keep the side competitive on the field, but it also  allows the books to be balanced in the boardroom too.

Two players that have transitioned seamlessly from the juniors to the seniors are Melissa Koössler and Sophie Weidauer.

Potsdam-born Koössler first saw some first-team action at the back end of the 2017-18 season. In the summer of 2019, she left for a year to play collegiately in America at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

That different environment enabled her to develop physically and in her first full season back the forward featured in every league game, scoring four times. This season Koössler has already increased that number by one in only eight league appearances.

Weidauer has also contributed with four goals this term. In the past, coaches have described her as having a nose for a goal, so this could be her breakout season. The forward also has a good passing game to provide for others too.

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As well as Turbine Potsdam has been playing there is always a stretch of games that shows you how far you still have to progress to reach the very top. For them, that time is now with four massive encounters to be played before the winter break. 

On the horizon is a trip to face Eintracht Frankfurt. That is followed by home games against Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg. First up though was a visit from Hoffenheim to the Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion.

Although they failed to hold onto a 3-1 lead Turbine Potsdam still managed to move their points tally onto 19 after a 3-3 draw. A brace from Cerci and a strike from Kössler, the scorers for the home side. 

When the season ends it will probably still be this weekend’s opponents, Hoffenheim, that Turbine Potsdam will need to be ahead of if they want to return to European competition. 

More investment will also then be needed, for them as the Champions League is another step up in the quality of regarding the opposition you come up against. 

Hoffenheim found that out first-hand in midweek recently, when they fell 5-0 at home to Barcelona in midweek. That followed on from them conceding four goals without reply the week before against the same team. 

Credit must always be given though to clubs like Turbine Potsdam. Being able to still keep their independence, without losing their relevance, is a feat that is getting harder to maintain as the landscape in women’s football continues to evolve.

Follow Martin on Twitter @673martin

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