Round 21 of the Frauen-Bundesliga is here and things are getting tighter and tighter. Last round brought us no conclusion to the relegation war, and positions only changed slightly. Wolfsburg clinched the title but not without drama. The fight to avoid the last relegation spot and to secure the last UWCL ticket are still open, but round 21 can go a long way in deciding the fate of all teams involved.
Six points still up for grabs. What should we be expecting from Round 21?
Relegation battle royale
Round 20 had an obvious ‘loser’, and that was Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Despite grabbing a point and climbing over FC Köln in the standings, Leverkusen had a golden opportunity to give themselves some security ahead of the final two rounds. They were up against USV Jena, who until Wednesday, had only managed two points in the whole of the season, and have been virtually relegated for a week. Inexplicably, Bayer 04 were unable to manufacture a goal that would have given them a two point cushion in the tabelle. This draw might prove decisive in the scheme of things, should results not go their way in round 21 and beyond.
This makes their next fixture all the more relevant. Bayer Leverkusen will be hosting FC Köln, in a battle royale of epic proportions in which the winner might take all – and leave the loser at the mercy of other results. Leverkusen and Köln are still one point ahead of MSV Duisburg, the current tenant of the dreaded 11th spot, but if the Frauen-Bundesliga has taught us anything this season is that things can rapidly change without warning. MSV plays Turbine Potsdam this weekend, which might not be an ideal opponent to grab points from, but they have a kind last round compared to the other two, as they visit Jena. So it is not completely out of the question that, in the event of a draw between Leverkusen and Köln this weekend, the zebras might ‘pull a Bradbury’ and save themselves on the last game.
The reality for both Leverkusen and Köln is that they need to win: it’s do or die. They will clash against Wolfsburg and Sand respectively in their last game of the season, and whilst that puts Köln at a marginal advantage, you do not want to leave your homework unfinished until the last minute. For the next instalment of this saga, tune in to the Magenta Sports coverage from 3pm CET on Sunday.
Champions League spot still in the air
Bayern Munich have a chance to settle for a minor season objective and clinch a UEFA Women’s Champions League spot this weekend when they receive Wolfsburg at the Bayern Campus. It certainly won’t be an easy job, however a draw would be enough to keep TSG Hoffenheim at bay and finish the job ahead of schedule. But drawing against Wolfsburg is easier said than done.
In saying that, the Wölfinnen secured their fourth consecutive league title on Wednesday, and there will be no pressure on them, besides pride and rivalry, to put Bayern to the sword. They might even rotate players. Bayern do not need to win, realistically – only one point will do for them. They are in the driver’s seat to ensure that their season does not go to waste before the summer break.
TSG will not let go easy. Since their defeat against Bayern a few weeks back, they have found form and have gone on a scoring spree to match the best. It is only unfortunate that their clash against Bayern came so early after the restart, as we might have seen a much tighter finish at the top. Hoffenheim will fancy their chances against Frankfurt, who have been inconsistent over the last couple of weeks, and if Wolfsburg offers them a favour in the shape of a win, we’re in for an interesting finish.
We can’t wrap up this post without mentioning the champions. Wolfsburg have now won the league the last four seasons in a row for a total of six titles, matching historical Turbine Potsdam and now one behind Frankfurt. The manner in which they have achieved those four titles can only be described as ruthless – they are a winning machine, and in those four years they have only met their match internationally when playing Olympique Lyonnais. They are in with a chance to finish the league unbeaten for the first time in their history, and they will like their odds.
The cherry on top are Pernille Harder’s statistics. She will finish as top scorer this year after letting her teammate Ewa Pajor take the trophy home last year. She is currently sitting on 26 goals and thirty does not look out of the question. She will be the highest season scorer in over a decade. Will she bring her party tricks to the Bayern Campus? We can only hope!