Although the new season is only two weeks old, plenty of storylines have emerged from both on and off the field. Now is an ideal time to take stock of early performances, as the Frauen-Bundesliga breaks until the weekend of September 26. During the international break, the German national team will play Republic of Ireland at home on Saturday and Montenegro away on Tuesday the 22nd.
On matchday 2, many German internationals jostled for spots in Bundestrainerin Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s Euro 2021 qualifying squad. Let’s find out which players helped their cases.
Maximale Punkteausbeute für die @VfLWob_Frauen, @FCBfrauen, @bayer04frauen und @EintrachtFrauen nach dem 2️⃣. Spieltag 💪. Ergebnisse und Tabelle im Überblick❗#DieLiga #MACHTLÄRM pic.twitter.com/hqmnKzwf2f
— DFB-Frauenfußball (@DFB_Frauen) September 13, 2020
Sydney Lohmann leading Bayern’s early charge
After two weeks, Bayern Munich have scored a league-best ten goals, kept two clean sheets, and currently stand on top of the table. Playing last-placed SC Sand and promoted Werder Bremen surely have helped, but they seem to have put last season’s goal-scoring troubles behind them. It was very encouraging to see so many of Bayern’s summer signings starting well, especially French playmaker Viviane Asseyi who’s scored in both games so far. But it was Sydney Lohmann, already a Bayern veteran at age 20, who’s seized the opportunity to impress.
An athletic central midfielder who’s won two European titles with the German U-17 squad, Lohmann had long been earmarked as a potential star at the senior level. She had a breakout Frauen-Bundesliga season two years ago before narrowly missing Germany’s 2019 World Cup squad. This disappointment was followed by a subpar league campaign, where Lohmann only played 13 games due to injuries and coach preference. After former captain Melanie Leupolz left for Chelsea, I figured new signing Sarah Zadrazil would fill the void, but so far Lohmann has started and scored in both games. Lohmann will want to keep up her play, especially after earning a recall to the German squad, and that can only benefit Bayern in the league.
Meppen are keeping up so far
Promoted after a fourth-place finish in the 2. Frauen-Bundesliga, the minnows from Lower Saxony entered the season as unknown quantities. Meppen have been competitive in both games so far. They played their first-ever game in the top flight to a scoreless draw against Duisburg, which head coach Roger Müller believed his team should have won. On matchday 2, Meppen got a surprising two-goal lead before settling for a draw against traditional giants Turbine Potsdam.
Meppen have followed an admirable squad-building technique for relegation-battling teams; they are relying on a core of homegrown young players with a few veterans to help grind out games, especially up front to nick a goal whenever possible. Polish international Agnieszka Winczo, age 36, led the line and scored their first goal. Key summer signings Beattie Goad and Jannelle Flaws have started both games, while Sarah Schulte, a former German youth international, have provided both assists. Personally, I’m rooting for Meppen to stay up and make me look smart with my season predictions!
Zsanett Jakabfi has still got it
Wolfsburg did not have the best few weeks. They lost the Champions League final to Lyon, former captain Pernille Harder to Chelsea, and both Ewa Pajor and Fridolina Rolfö to injuries. Pajor’s is a big blow especially, as the Polish international was expected to be the attacking fulcrum after Harder’s departure. Her long-term absence also forced to the club to react immediately, signing Norwegian international Karina Sævik from Paris Saint-Germain. Before Sævik arrives, however, Hungarian veteran Zsanett Jakabfi is relishing the opportunity to stake her claim on the field.
At Wolfsburg since 2009, Jakabfi is one of the club’s longest-serving players and was the Champions League’s top scorer in 2017. Despite her longevity and productivity, Jakabfi somehow has never been a nailed-on starter for Die Wölfinnen. Now given the chance at age 30, she scored a hat-trick and an assist on matchday 2 against Hoffenheim. With her form, head coach Stephan Lerch should keep Jakabfi in the starting line-up until further notice.
Hoffenheim’s title ambitions
Seasons are not decided this early on, but too many dropped points could derail a title challenge before it even gets started. Hoffenheim were last season’s surprise package and surely are targeting Champions League qualification this year. But with a challenging early-season schedule and a new head coach in Gabor Gallai, Hoffenheim have dropped both games so far and sit ninth in the standings.
Hoffenheim’s top attacking players like Nicole Billa and Tabea Waßmuth are still playing well, but the loss in defense of former captain Leonie Pankratz and Sarai Linder meant that they have been chasing the game more. An open competition between two young goalkeepers does not encourage defensive solidity either. Facing defending champions Wolfsburg on matchday two, Gallai handed a Frauen-Bundesliga debut to 18-year-old goalkeeper Ann-Kathrin Dilfer. That game ended in a 4–1 loss.
To keep their season on track after the international break, Hoffenheim must get a result on matchday 3 against Eintracht Frankfurt, one of their primary challengers for a top-three finish.
Has the bottom fallen out at SC Sand?
A small-town club, SC Sand have nonetheless managed consistent mid-table finishes in the Frauen-Bundesliga. Therefore, it is extremely surprising to see them last in the table with zero goals scored. While a big loss to Bayern Munich was excusable, a 3–0 loss to local rivals Freiburg on matchday 2 was eye-catching, especially after Freiburg sold some big names over the summer.
It is possible that SC Sand’s early results are a temporary aberration, as their new head coach Nora Häuptle will only start the job after she finishes her duties with the Swiss U-19. SC Sand will hope that Häuptle can right the ship quickly after the international break, otherwise it could turn into a long season for the team from Baden.