With many in Sweden expecting to see Pernille Harder and Stina Blackstenius leave Linköping at the end of the 2016 season, fans were left surprised when Fridolina Rolfö announced her departure to Bayern Munich.
Though planning on seeing out the remainder of her contract with LFC, the opportunity to move to Germany was too good for the Swedish international to pass up: “I wasn’t planning to leave because I had a two-year contract with Linköping, which I was in the middle of but I felt like I wanted to do something else. I had been in Sweden for many years so I thought it was a good opportunity to do something else and then I got contacted by Bayern Munich and I was looking at different leagues and I thought the German league was a good one.”
With Sweden’s Damallsvenskan regarded as one of the best in the world, Rolfö sees the Frauen Bundesliga as the pinnacle, the switch to Germany a dream one, “That was my dream, I think it’s the best league right now so my plan was to go there.”
After sustaining a knock in her first outing with Munich – a pre-season friendly against Arsenal – Rolfö has once again found herself coming back from an injury. Not expected to be back until after the Algarve Cup the rangy attacker made fine progress to make her league bow before the international break, her impact on the pitch immediate as she set Vivianne Miedema for the match winning goal:
“I’m trying to get back as fast as possible to for my body to be fit. I was really upset after the injury, I worked really hard and I thought that I was fit enough to play against Jena and I had a good chance. I like to play with Miedema and I think we have a good connection when we play together and she was a good solution in the game to play her in and she scored a good goal,” she joked, “so I can’t take the credit.”
Known as being a physical league, Rolfö admits that whilst the training is similar to what she’s used to, it is however tougher. “A little bit, it’s tougher in Germany, much tougher. We have two or three more practises than in Sweden and it’s tougher and longer training but if you see what we’re doing it’s almost the same.”
Before reinjuring her metatarsals, Rolfö and three of her new teammates shot a friendly golf competition as part of FCB’s social media, the usually calm striker left rankled. With a fiercely competitive desire to win running through the Swedish team – as can be seen in their own social media – there was the question of whether Rolfö could rival the likes of Lisa Dahlkvist for being a bit of a sore loser.
The Bavarian laughed off the question, her frustrations not indicative of her character, “Not really, usually I’m pretty calm on the field but when it was golf and the rest of the girls who were playing were terrible and I’ve been playing many years, so I was upset because I wasn’t as good as they thought I was, so I was frustrated.”
With an action-packed scheduled this month with Munich, that features two games against VfL Wolfsburg, two against Paris-Saint Germain as well as regular league commitments, Rolfö is raring to go. Though she doesn’t know how heavily she features in manager, Thomas Wörle’s plans, she’s keen to make her mark for her new club, “It depends, Thomas hasn’t given us the plans for each team yet but all they’re all important games so it would make sense for him to play with the best available at the time. I’ll see how good I am when I’m coming back and hopefully I can play all the games, maybe not every minute but hopefully I can play.”
Not a stranger to the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Liverpool fans will remember Rolfö and her 32-minute hat-trick from a cold night in October 2014. Despite narrowly missing out on the last four that season, the former LFC star has been further in the competition than her new club.
Bayern are only in their second season in Europe, the first ending with a surprise loss to FC Twente. The upcoming quarter-final tie against veritable veterans PSG, a new experience for the club and Rolfö is looking to go [at least] one further than last time, “Yeah really it was a long time, two years, ago when we [Linköping] lost in the quarter-finals and now we’re [Munich] in the quarter-finals again and I really want to go to the semi-finals, so I really hope we win against PSG.”