Frauen-Bundesliga Matchday 12 Preview: Challengers look to cut down lead at the top
Image credit: VAVEL

The Frauen-Bundesliga returns from its winter break with all but two teams involved in the action. Current league leaders, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam as well as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim will be watching as the other ten teams in the league battle for the first three points of 2017.

Freiburg welcome Bayern in the battle for third

SC Freiburg welcome reigning champions FC Bayern Munich to the Möslestadion in the first game of the weekend as the home side look to get all three points and leap-frog Bayern into third place. Bayern on the other hand, will be looking to close the gap at the top to two points if they manage to get the win against Freiburg. With six goals to her name so far this season, Freiburg's Hasret Kayikçi will be expected to lead the line well for Freiburg against a strong Bayern defence.

For Bayern, Dutch international Vivianne Miedema will be key as she searches to add to her five goals this season and especially after the news of Simone Laudehr's injury setback, Miedema's goals will be needed more than ever. Expect a tightly fought game that could end up in a draw or a narrow win either way given the relative strengths and form of both teams.

Duisburg look to start 2017 right

MSV Duisburg travel to SGS Essen this weekend looking to distance themselves from the bottom of the table and a looming relegation battle. Duisburg are in ninth with nine points and are going up against an Essen side that are sitting in fifth place, and know that they are six points away from a chance to play in Europe next season.

Lea Schüller, Nicole Anyomi and Isabelle Meyer will be the danger players for Essen and the Duisburg defence, which as let in 31 goals so far this season, will be hoping that those three players all have a collective bad day.

Wolfsburg will look to battle through injuries against Sand

The winter break has not been kind to title challengers, VfL Wolfsburg. They have recently lost forward Zsanett Jakabfi to injury (although the arrival of Pernille Harder should soften this blow) and influential midfielder, Lena Goeßling is still coming back from her long-term injury. Wolfburg are also without all three senior goalkeepers who are also injured so it's no wonder with all of these injuries, that in a disjointed Wolfburg team, the current top goalscorer is defender Nilla Fischer.

With this in mind, visitors SC Sand will feel that they have a chance against the home team this weekend if they come up with a solid tactical plan. Sand will also look to Austrian midfielder Laura Feiersinger to try and grab a goal as well to give them the win.

Frankfurt should have no problems against Gladbach

1. FFC Frankfurt travel to the Grenzlandstadion to face bottom placed Borussia Mönchengladbach and the away side should pick up the win against a team that has failed to register a single point this season. Frankfurt can look to the likes of Mandy Islacker to have a good day out against a defence that has allowed 31 goals this season, tied for the most conceded goals in the league so far.

Gladbach themselves will be hoping to keep the goals total down as much as possible and maybe, miraculously, find a way to get at least a point against Frankfurt which could be possible as the away side is not having the best of seasons so far. A win for Frankfurt would propel them to fifth while a win for Gladbach would not move them out of the relegation zone but it would move them within six points of safety.

The relegation battle sees its next chapter

The final game of the weekend sees two teams currently sitting close to the bottom of the table, FF USV Jena and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, try to win this potential 'six-pointer'. A win for either side could mean a lot in the coming weeks as both teams look to stay in the top division next season while a loss will most certainly setback the losers to an even greater degree. Both teams are searching for consistent goalscorers, with only seven a piece for the season, while at the back, they both have let in far too many goals. In terms of quality, both teams are evenly matched so the result could go either way.