High tension before the showdown in the women's Bundesliga

0
61

Will FC Bayern or VfL Wolfsburg become champions? Who descends next to Turbine Potsdam? No matter how the title race and relegation battle end, the women’s Bundesliga itself is already the winner before the season finale.

Who will win the championship title: FC Bayern or VfL Wolfsburg?

The parallels cannot be overlooked: As in the men's Bundesliga, there is also a showdown on the last day of the women's Bundesliga. Like Borussia Dortmund for men, it is up to FC Bayern to win the championship title for women. It would be the  fifth in the club's history. In second place, the champions of the previous year are lurking in wait for a mistake by the table leader in order to perhaps win the championship trophy again in the last game: FC Bayern for men, VfL Wolfsburg for women.

< h2>Popp: “Bayern is under pressure”

“Of course I'm aware that the probability is very low. But I'm very optimistic. Don't ask me why,” said Wolfsburg captain Alexandra Popp in the run-up to the season finale: “And of course Bayern have the pressure to score points must.” If the DFB Cup winners around Popp also win the new edition of the duel against SC Freiburg on Sunday, Munich must also win in the home game against the Turbine Potsdam team, which has already been relegated. One point would not be enough, since Wolfsburg has the much better goal difference.

Alexandra Popp from Wolfsburg is clearly the top scorer in the Bundesliga with 16 goals

Nevertheless, the match point lies with FC Bayern, who have been unbeaten since the 5th matchday: After the 1: 2 against Wolfsburg, the team of Norwegian coach Alexander Straus played 15 wins in a row. If the Munich team had also won at Bayer 04 Leverkusen on the penultimate matchday, winning the title would have been perfect early on. However, since the game only ended goalless, the decision was postponed.

Nevertheless, the leaders of the table are clear favorites for the title. This is also indicated by the decision of the DFB to send the original championship trophy and, as a prominent representative, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg to Munich, while only a duplicate of the trophy and national assistant coach Britta Carlson will be present in Wolfsburg.

Three teams are still trembling for relegation

In the relegation battle, there is a similar drama in the women's Bundesliga as in the men's. One relegated team is certain: Turbine Potsdam for women and Hertha BSC for men. It is still open in both leagues who has to go directly to the second division as the second club. While FC Schalke 04, VfL Bochum, VfB Stuttgart and – purely mathematically – even FC Augsburg have to tremble for the men, there are three clubs for the women: SV Meppen (17 points), MSV Duisburg ( 18) and 1. FC Cologne (18).

Crackling excitement in the season finale is therefore guaranteed. So it's hardly surprising that the pay channel Magenta TV is offering a live conference of all six games on the last matchday for the first time in the history of the women's Bundesliga.

More reach – in the media and in the stadiums

According to the German Football Association, interest in the Bundesliga has risen sharply this season. It was fueled by the impressive performance of the DFB team at the European Championships in summer 2022 in England, which ended in second place behind the hosts. Around 20 percent more watched women's Bundesliga games on television than in the previous season. An increase of 125 percent was recorded in the social networks, and the overall online reach increased by 92 percent. The average number of spectators in the stadiums also increased: from around 800 to around 2800.

Even if you exclude the so-called “highlight games” – attractive games that were moved to large stadiums and heavily advertised – there was an increase to around 2000 fans on average per game.

Record season

Viewer records tumbled this season. The previous Bundesliga season record for the 2021/2022 season (around 108,000 spectators) was already surpassed on the seventh matchday. A total of 330,000 fans were already counted in the stadiums before the last match day. The concept of the highlight games worked. The five most-attended games in Bundesliga history date from this season.

Well-filled ranks in the 1 .FC Cologne versus Eintracht Frankfurt on the 18th Bundesliga match day

The game between 1. FC Köln and Eintracht Frankfurt now holds the record, attracting 38,365 people to the stadium. According to the DFB, women's football has finally arrived in German society. “The doors are opening, the topic has a positive connotation. We can make a difference,” said former international Doris Fitschen, who has been coordinating measures at the DFB for about a year to strengthen the role of women in football.

Barely any chances for women-only clubs 

According to the DFB, there are currently no concrete plans to increase the Bundesliga from twelve to more clubs. The professionalization of the highest women's class is making progress, but still has to progress before one can think about a bigger league. The more professional the league becomes, the fewer chances there are for women-only football clubs. With Turbine Potsdam, one of the last representatives of this guild says goodbye after this season. With two Champions League successes, six German championships and three DFB Cup victories as well as six East German championship titles, Turbine is one of the most successful clubs in German women's football history. Now it's down to the 2nd league.

“Personally, I think it's a shame,” says DFB General Secretary Heike Ullrich. But the trend is clear: more and more successful are those clubs that were previously known for their men's teams and are now investing heavily in their own women's teams. “The assertiveness [of these clubs – editor's note] means that the field of participants in the first and second leagues will change significantly,” believes Ullrich.

With second division champions RB Leipzig, who already has secured the ticket for the Bundesliga, another men's Bundesliga club will also be represented in Germany's highest division for women in the coming season. This season, this applied to eight of the twelve Bundesliga clubs. And no matter how the exciting season finale for the championship turns out, with Bayern, Wolfsburg and Frankfurt the three German Champions League participants have already been determined – clubs that have also played in Europe's premier class for men.