The new Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga season 2016/2017 will officially kick off this Saturday, September 3, with current reigning champions FC Bayern Munich hosting the young and aspiring team SC Freiburg. The league has also presented a new media partner just in time: German broadcaster SPORT1 will potentially broadcast a total of 22 games live this season: on free tv Sport1, Sport1+, or as live stream on the Internet. The network has promised a lot of exclusive coverage, which is definitely a good thing for the league and women’s soccer in general.
FC Bayern Munich
After winning the Bundesliga title two times in a row, “Die Bayern” are definitely heading into the new campaign as favorites. Head coach Thomas Wörle is keeping the expectations a little bit lower though: the goal is to “at least” qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League again. Bayern have strengthened their squad by signing German international Simone Laudehr, former Wolfsburg player Verena Faißt, and the talented U-19 international Anna Gerhardt from FC Köln. And even the strongest defense in the league (conceded only 8 goals last season) has got new additions: Dutch internationals Stefanie van der Gragt and Jacintha Weimar have signed long-term deals with the club.
The German club is known for its defensive style of play, which earns a lot of critics, especially when you look at the squad and the potential it has. But similar to the whole Sweden controversy — it gets the job done. As the competition gets tougher and tougher, perhaps it’s time to take a step forward and try new things. Bayern won the league with a total of 10 points in advance last season. The squad’s depth and strength is definitely good enough to go after the title for a third time but as the dominant force in Germany, it should also be Bayern’s aim to make it further in the UEFA Women’s Champions League since their last run ended in the Round of 32. We’ve all seen at the Olympics what Melanie Leupolz, Sara Däbritz, Melanie Behringer, and Laudehr are capable of – now it’s time to make use of it in the league.
Laura Feiersinger, Jenny Gaugigl, Ricarda Walkling, Raffaella Manieri, Isabella Hartig, Vero Boquete
Simone Laudehr, Anna Gerhardt, Stefanie van der Gragt, Jacintha Weimar, Verena Faißt
The Wolves are hungry. If not hungrier than ever after missing out on the Bundesliga title two years in a row. As current reigning German DFB Cup winners and UEFA Women’s Champions League finalists, the goal is to bring back the Bundesliga title to Wolfsburg. Ralf Kellermann has a massive squad to work with and just recently added Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir, Emily van Egmond, and Olympic gold medalist Anja Mittag to it. “Die Wölfinnen” are without a doubt one of the strongest clubs in the world – but will they overcome their struggles in defense? A lot of individual mistakes cost them important points last season. And can they manage to become ruthless in front of the goal again?
Wolfsburg have the strongest offensive line in the league yet the conversion of chances is still a problem. On the other side, Noelle Maritz and Caroline Hansen return to the team after long-term injuries. Injuries have been a big problem fort the Wolves as well, but the current roster should now be able to compensate for any long-term injuries. Also, Ramona Bachmann, who had a difficult first season in the Autostadt and played below expectations, gets to play with Gunnarsdottir and Mittag again, and is a trio that has proven to win championships. There’s no more excuse for the treble winners of 2013 – they want to get back to the top, not just on the international stage but also on the national stage as well.
Verena Faißt, Synne Jensen (on loan to Stabæk IF in the Toppserien)
Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir, Emily van Egmond, Anja Mittag
1. FFC Frankfurt
The ambitions in Frankfurt have changed after losing several key players like Dzsenifer Marozsán, Simone Laudehr, and Kerstin Garefrekes. The focus is now set on training and developing its own youth players and eventually integrating them into the first team. It will be a difficult season for Frankfurt but new captain Saskia Bartusiak will be determined to lead her team to victory nonetheless – and the potential is there. Matt Ross’s team should be able to establish in the upper midfield and perhaps anger the “big guys.” And a title is definitely possible: the German DFB Cup. The roster still features a lot of big names and opponents underestimate Frankfurt at their peril. They might face radical changes – but they are still a team you can count on.
Departures Dzsenifer Marozsán, Simone Laudehr, Melissa Friedrich, Ebru Uzungüney, Anke Preuß, Jana Löber, Celine Rumpf, Isabelle Linden, Emily van Egmond, Kerstin Garefrekes, Valentina Limani
Lise Munk, Tanja Pawollek, Julia Matuschewski, Nadine Anstatt
Freiburg has done outstanding work over the years and is the place to go to for young players. The mix of young talent and experienced players seems to work out perfectly fine and the results are there, too. Finishing in fourth place last season was a great result for all involved. Ahead of the new season, the club managed to extend the loan of midfielder Lina Magull and strengthened the squad with players like Caroline Simon and former Western New York Flash player Chelsea Stewart. While Jens Scheuer’s team might not be a candidate for the Bundesliga title, they are certainly a team ready to go after the DFB Cup and climb up further in the table.
Departures Jenista Clark, Eva-Lotta Ravn, Franziska Jaser, Pia Züfle, Verena Aschauer, Nicole Banecki, Lisa Makas, Daria Streng, Myriam Krüger
Laura Giuliani, Caroline Simon, Sabine Stoller, Chelsea Stewart, Vanessa Ziegler, Lisa Schüler, Nicole Eckerle, Marie Müller
After six years as head coach at USV Jena, Daniel Kraus is now taking responsibility at SGS Essen. The club’s fifth-place last season was a good result for the team. And Essen’s roster hasn’t changed much – the key players Lisa Weiß, Sara Doorsoun, Linda Dallmann, and Charline Hartmann all stay, and Kozue Ando has committed her future to the club and extended her contract for another year. In the past couple of years, SGS Essen has never finished the season below sixth place. Is it time to set higher goals? Kraus doesn’t deny it, but points out that the club’s work at the youth level is its foundation and the goal is to stabilize it even more.
Departures Lena Pauels, Franziska Wenzel, Madeline Gier, Janina Meißner
FF USV Jena
After Daniel Kraus‘ departure, things are changing at Jena as well. Christian Franz-Pohlmann has been appointed as new coach. His new task is a real challenge: a lot of key players completed moves to other clubs and Jena officials have openly admitted they don‘t have the financial abilities to sign new expensive players. They landed one transfer coup though after Patricia Hanebeck completed her move from Turbine Potsdam. Hanebeck will bring a lot of experience to the team and can also operate as a mentor for the young players. The balance of young and experienced players in the roster is good. But even at Jena the focus is set on the youth and the one and only goal is to stay in the Bundesliga for the ninth time in a row.
Laura Luis, Patricia Hanebeck, Annalena Rieke, Stina Johannes, Justien Odeurs, Marie-Luise Hermann, Franziska Mai, Luca Graf, Lisa Seiler, Annika Graser, Sophia Löser
1. FFC Turbine Potsdam
First, Turbine Potsdam without Bernd Schröder is something people have to get used to. But now the club has to face the bitter reality and is off to new things. Former assistant coach Matthias Rudolph has taken over and is ready to lead the iconic Bundesliga club back onto the victory road. While a lot of pressure will last on the new trainer, he already made clear he expects a lot of “dedication” and “willingness to run” from his team. Rudolph also announced a few possible tactical changes. Schröder used to play with a three-back defensive line. Potsdam fans can look forward to a four-back defensive line now, which might help stabilize the team. Last season’s seventh-place finish was a disappointment and it can only go up from there.
Anna Gasper, Eseosa Aigbogun, Lara Prašnikar, Sarah Zadrazil, Gina Chmielinski
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim have improved every year so far but not always when it comes to placement in the league table, especially when it comes to the amount of points collected and the goal difference. This upcoming season might be the most promising; only one player left the club while established players like Sharon Beck have joined. Hoffenheim finished the last season in eighth place with a goal difference of 33:33. The well attuned team has all the abilities to climb up in the table and improve the numbers. “Full steam ahead” is the slogan on the club’s official homepage.
Silvana Chojnowski, Theresa Betz, Kathi Kiel
SC Sand has established itself as a solid club in the Frauen-Bundesliga. They shocked a whole nation with their success and dominant style of play. Sand beat VfL Wolfsburg in front of their own fans, eliminated Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup and even made it all the way to the final where they put up a great fight against the Wolves. It’s safe to say that SC Sand are slowly but surely on their way up even though they “only” finished in seventh place last season. The key to their success? Signing players who didn’t get the chance to prove themselves at former clubs. And they are hungrier and ready to show the world what they’re capable of. SC Sand’s whole project is just incredibly attractive – to fans and players — and new coach Colin Bell gets to work with an exciting and uprising team whose goal will be to attack the upper midfield.
Sabine Stoller, Mária Korenčiová, Julia Zirnstein
Bayer Leverkusen is a club that we all know or at least have heard of. Unfortunately, Thomas Obliers‘ team always fails to unleash its full potential and has had to face the relegation battle the past few years. The coach used simple words to describe the goals for the upcoming season: “The aim is to score, assist, and win games.” For once, the club doesn’t want to deal with a potential relegation. And the quality in the squad is definitely there to prevent that, even after losing several key players, officials have brought in promising players. For example, the trio from 1. FC Köln of Rachel Rinast, Nina Ehegötz, and Lena Schrum are all players who have already shown that they can play on the highest level and are hungry to continue doing so.
Jana Schwanekamp, Kristina Sundov, Sharon Beck, Caroline Simon, Marisa Ewers, Anna Gasper, Katharina Prinz, Laura Leluschko, Frauke Roenneke
Rieke Dieckmann, Ana Oliveira Leite, Carolin Grössinger, Gentjana Rochi, Rachel Rinast, Lena Schrum, Nina Ehegötz, Jil Ludwig, Melissa Friedrich, Henrietta Csiszár, Gianna Rackow, Sarah Abu Sabbah
Duisburg is finally back in the Frauen-Bundesliga! And head coach Inka Grings says that’s “where they [Duisburg] belong.” “Die Dinos” are confident, and they have the right to be! They finished their last season in the 2. Bundesliga without losing a single game. The girls (you might be familiar with some of the names — Linda Bresonik, for example) are very much looking forward to playing against the top teams in Germany, but the most important priority is to stay in the league and set new goals from season to season. Who doesn’t remember the good old dominant FCR Duisburg? And as we all know: Good things take time.
Departures Lara Luis, Petra Mitter, Mairav Shamir
Arrivals Virginia Kirchberger, Lena Nuding, Yvonne Zielinski
They marched up from the lowest league to the Frauen-Bundesliga. The players, staff, and officials are well aware of the fact that the season is going to be far from easy. Head coach Mike Schmalenberg is not afraid and ordered his players to not be afraid. Statistics say that the clubs who get promoted are usually the ones who get relegated. There’s no true goal set. Schmalenberg ordered his team to play as courageous as possible and at the end of the season we’ll see if it paid off or not.
Ana Oliveira Leite, Leonie Zellmann, Gurbet Kalkan, Jessica Hackenberger
Arrivals Mona Lohmann, Christina Bellinghoven, Liv Aerts, Kerstin Bogenschütz, Tiffany Cameron, Madeline Gier, Michelle Wassenhoven, Kelsey Geraedets, Paula Petri