Wolfsburg opened up a gap at the top as Freiburg completed a league double over Turbine Potsdam, a narrow win over Duisburg enough for Bayern Munich to close the gap on the top two to one. At the other end of the table Hoffenheim found even more breathing room and Jena pulled away from the bottom two.
Not having the best of seasons, Jena travelled to the Grenzlandstadion looking for a big win to take them clear of the bottom two and couldn’t have asked for a better start when Amber Hearn fired her side ahead inside of eight minutes. Hearn had been well found by Lucie Voňková after the Czech striker had seen her initial shot parried, with Hearn able to fire the ball into the far side of the net. Gladbach almost restored parity six minutes later when Kelly Simons drove her shot against the far post before the hosts saw the ball cleared off of the line seconds later by a scrambling back Justien Odeurs.
Voňková was involved for Jena again on the half hour after Pauline Dallmann had felled Marie-Luise Herrmann in the box after the hosts had sloppily tried to play out from the back, her penalty well watched and saved centrally by sixteen-year-old Michelle Wassenhoven.
Clearly growing in the league, Borussia did well to keep the scoreline respectable until after the hour when the hosts were undone by a 25-yard piledriver from Susann Utes, Julia Arnold the one to put the gloss on at 3-0 ten minutes later when she chased down a weak back-pass before slotting the ball under the keeper. Wassenhoven able to redeem herself at the death as she dived well to saved a curled free kick from Ivana Rudelic, though the damage had already been done.
Having dropped into second on goals scored alone, Potsdam were looking to get back on track and even the scores after Freiburg had beaten them at the Möslestadion at the end of October, though the visitors had different ideas.
Able to slice through the pitch with long, untroubled balls, Freiburg took an early lead though Lena Petermann when she connected with Sandra Starke inch-perfect deep cross, the home defence carved open. The visitors continued to have the better of it at the Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion and continued to go close throughout, Lisa Schmitz able to stand up to their continued efforts.
The result sees Freiburg back up to forth, though any chance of breaking into the top three seems far from likely, and the loss sees Potsdam drop firmly into second.
Able to get out of their winter slump, Essen claimed another three points away to Sand, the lone goal courtesy of Kirsten Nesse less than fifteen minutes in. The striker played in by Charline Hartmann and able to bend the ball past Carina Schlüter and into the far corner. The visitors continued to look dangerous but couldn’t add to their tally, Lisa Weiß happy to have kept her seventh clean sheet of the season, much to Jovana Damnjanović’s frustration.
Half-way through the first-half both sides had left the woodwork shaking but remained deadlock, first Stefanie Weichelt had pinged a 30-yard lob off of the top of the bar before Melanie Behringer saw her shot turned against the post by Lena Nuding. A team that had only won two of their 12 wins by more than one goal, it wasn’t a surprise to see Munich looking blunt in the final third, Nuding did well to stand up to the intermittent pressure.
The decisive moment in the game came nine minutes from time when Vivianne Miedema went down in the box under challenge from Zsófia Rácz, the referee with no hesitation over pointing to the spot. With a weak lean to her left there was little Nuding could do to stop Behringer’s well placed penalty to her right, the loan goal enough to give the Bavarians all three points and close the ground on Potsdam.
A clash in the box saw Hoffenheim awarded a penalty after Ramona Petzelberger was adjudged to have handled when she was on the deck, the midfielder shown a yellow before she was substituted for the injury she picked up in the clash. The situation of the penalty doing little to deter captain Martina Moser, who was able to fire the ball low into the left corner as Anna Klink went the wrong way.
Dóra Zeller doubled the advantage five minutes later when the hosts countered at a corner, the Hungarian able to get past Merle Barth before firing the ball over the advancing ‘keeper. Rachel Rinast gave Verena Hagedorn’s side hope fifteen minutes from time when she spun at the top of the box and fired low past Martina Tufeković and into the far corner however the comeback was short-lived and Hoffenheim restored their two-goal lead two minutes later. Able to ping the ball around midfield, the hosts brought the ball forward before Leonie Pankratz sent a floated cross into the box, Moser able to stoop to meet the ball and head past Klink for her brace and all three points.
Going into the match tied with Potsdam on both points and goal difference, Wolfsburg were looking to cement their place at the top of the table but were put on the back foot 27 minutes in. After Yūki Nagasato and Ana-Maria Crnogorčević had fluffed chances to put the hosts ahead, Jackie Groenen took matters into her own hands and cut through the visiting defence, slipping past the centre-backs before finding the back of the net by way of the far post. The Wolves weren’t down for long, however and Caroline Graham Hansen’s low cross found Lara Dickenmann just in front of Desirée Schumann for the Swiss international to nip the ball into the waiting net.
Hansen was involved in everything good the visitors did and her combinations with Dickenmann and Pernille Harder nearly brought about the third goal in the first-half but the home defence did just enough to keep the pair square at the break. But it wasn’t long before the table-toppers went ahead after the half, Hansen’s ball into the box from the by-line flicked back goalwards by Harder, Schumann only able to tip the ball against Saskia Bartusiak on the line.
Deserving of the plaudits for their third goal, Dickenmann was sent on her way by Hansen, the deep ball picked the experienced attacker out before she took a touch to lose Janina Hechler and create enough space to loop the ball over the keeper and into the hungry goal.
Comfortable in the game and cruising, Wolfsburg attacked in waves, conversely Frankfurt looked dangerous but without the necessary bite that absentee talisman Mandy Islacker gives them. Wolfsburg’s fourth came from the Frankfurters overcommitting bodies forward, Alex Popp’s through ball to Ewa Pajor enough to punch a chasm in the defence, the Pole taking the ball around Schumann with ease before walking it into the empty net. Pajor then turned creator for the hammer-blow, her pass to Hansen struck first-time by the attacking maestro, giving Schumann no chance as it soared through the air, arcing away from the well-beaten keeper before sending shockwaves through the back of the net.
Wolfsburg able to seal their spot at the top barely breaking a sweat, a message sent out to the rest of the league.