Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir moved to the Damallsvenskan at 20, after two years with Breiðablik, a new challenge pushing her to a new and different league. A desire to continue improving her game enough to prompt the move, the Swedish league a step up from what she was used to back home, “The Icelandic and Swedish leagues are quite different, I think the teams in the Swedish league are a little bit better and the tempo and quality is better that’s why I picked Sweden to go abroad to play and get better.”
A talented player in a successful team, Gunnarsdóttir got to play with some of the best players in the Damallsvenskan at Rosengård but after a silverware-laden spell with the [then] Swedish champions the midfielder itched for change, keen to step out of the familiar, “When I was there we won for titles but we never reached further in the Champions League than the quarter finals but I felt like I was in my comfort zone and I needed to change things.
"I was happy at Rosengård but at that point of my career I needed a push for more competition and more challenges to improve as a player. And I picked a fantastic team to move to and challenge myself, I’m in a good environment.”
With other strong leagues across the world, Gunnarsdóttir was Germany bound, the quality in the Frauen-Bundesliga too much to resist, “I knew that I didn’t want to join another team in Sweden but to try something new and Germany have one of the strongest leagues in the world and I’ve seen it now that there’s a difference between the Swedish and Germany leagues so it’s definitely a step forward in my development.
"I’m always trying to improve that’s why I joined the German league, it’s tough and high tempo; a good quality. It’s not easy but that’s something I was looking for.”
Hungry for more
After signing an initial two-year deal, Gunnarsdóttir was happy to extend early in her contract, her new club the perfect place to continue her progression, “I think three years is a good basis to start on, it goes by fast so three years training and playing with these players it’s a really good environment to improve yourself and when I got the offer to extend I wanted to take it, it’s the right environment for me.”
Two games into Iceland’s stay at the Algarve Cup the midfielder’s month is only just beginning, Wolfsburg with a tough run of fixtures that includes two matches (one league, one Pokal) against Bayern Munich as well as a two-legged UWCL quarter final tie against last year’s winners, Olympique Lyonnais that will be slotted around regular league commitments.
Still hungering for Champions League glory, Gunnarsdóttir has every faith that her team can make up for the heartbreak of last year’s final loss to the French Champions, “It’s going to be two tough games but I think we’re really in a good place as a team and we’re playing well in the league and we’ve started the year well, we have good quality and confidence in ourselves. Of course Lyon are a fantastic team but I think we have a good chance of beating them.”