- The new Women’s Bundesliga season starts on 16 August
- Bayern Munich face Freiburg in the opening match
- We talk to FCB and Germany defender Kathrin Hendrich about the new season
It always seems as though preparations for the next FIFA Women’s World Cup begin as soon as the previous tournament ends. Yet players based in Germany have much more urgent business to attend to, as the new Bundesliga season starts for both the men and women on Friday.
“I can’t wait to get the new season started and play for points again,” Hendrich told FIFA.com. “I’m also very excited because our new coach [Jens Scheuer] and players have brought a breath of fresh air to the team. It will definitely be interesting.”
Carolin Simon, Giulia Gwinn and New Zealand’s Ali Riley are among the aforementioned additions to the FCB ranks, and they wasted no time in settling in. “For the first few weeks that we were all together for the first time, we worked really well and spent a lot of time playing games in training. I’m amazed at how well we’re already moving the ball around. We’ve made great progress compared to other years, especially as we haven’t been training together for long. I hope that we can produce the kind of football we’re playing right now in the league and other competitions and that this will bring us success.”
Having only moved from 1. FFC Frankfurt to the banks of the Isar in time for the 2018/2019 season, the German-Belgian defender believes it is not just the world-class environment that sets Bayern apart.
“You can always sense that champions’ DNA,” Hendrich said with a smile. “You realise that the club demands success. That ethos trickles down through all of the teams, including us. The expectation is that you will win while playing the best possible football. We always have to push ourselves to our limits. Playing at 95 per cent isn’t enough. Every individual is expected to give 100 per cent all the time. While that adds a certain amount of pressure, it also gives us motivation.”
The players are also motivated to prove that the Bundesliga is still one of the best leagues in the world, despite mounting criticism that the women’s game in Germany is struggling to keep pace with that of its rivals.
“You have to be honest and say they have a point,” Hendrich admitted. “I wouldn’t say that things are falling apart here; instead, other countries are simply catching up with us. You sense a certain buzz and realise that the women’s game really needs to be promoted. Although we talk about that in Germany too, I think more still needs to be done. We have very good players here and very good teams, so there’s no need to paint such a bleak picture all the time. Having said that, we shouldn’t get complacent; we need to keep coming up with ideas and see if we can get even more out of the sport.”
The 27-year-old, who was called up to Germany’s senior squad for the first time in 2014, is not sure what kind of positive impact the Women’s World Cup will have on the league. “To be honest, I don’t think there’ll be a big surge in interest now, but I do think that it will have got a few more people interested in the game.”
“We’re always very self-critical – perhaps too much sometimes,” the defender reflected. “You have to remember that we also kept several clean sheets and played some very good football at times. We can definitely build on that, as well as the fact that several young players gained vital experience and played a lot of minutes. That was important, particularly for the future. We need to be patient, take satisfaction from our performance and hold on to the positives.”
Germany’s national team get their new season underway in just over two weeks’ time in a UEFA Women’s EURO England 2021 qualifier on Saturday 31 August (kick-off 12:30 local time), as coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side face Montenegro for the first time in Kassel.