The penultimate round of fixtures in the Frauen-Bundesliga season saw Wolfsburg regain their title despite a loss away to Freiburg and Munich leap-frog Turbine into second with a commanding win in Potsdam. Further down the table, Essen confirmed Leverkusen’s relegation with a sound thrashing as Sand, Hoffenheim and Duisburg all registered healthy wins away from home.
The hosts had the first chance of the game when Susann Utes did well to meet Julia Arnold's back-post delivery at a free-kick and the 26-year-old drew a solid one-hand save from Carina Schlüter. Having had a couple of frustrating losses in recent times, Sand were determined to secure a victory at the end of the season. Nina Burger came close earlier in the first-half before getting enough on a long ball to slip it underneath Justien Odeurs and into the waiting net.
The two sides managed to cancel each other out for the most part after the break but the decisive moment came when Burger was upended in the area late in the game. Captain Anne van Bonn made no mistakes from the spot as she sent Odeurs the wrong way , tucking her penalty into the left side of the net. With no way back for the hosts it was left for Claire Savin to put the gloss over the score line in stoppage time; Verena Aschauer’s initial shot left to ping around in the box before Savin stabbed home from close range.
Going from strength to strength, Hoffenheim made it three wins on the bounce when they pulled off a shock in Frankfurt. The visitors led from the first minute when Dóra Zeller flicked a deep free kick past Cara Bösl. Ana-Maria Crnogorčević restored parity on the half hour when she volleyed Mandy Islacker’s pull-back beyond Friederike Abt but it wasn’t long before Zeller nudged her team back in front with a diving head from Martina Moser’s looped cross.
Hoffenheim continued to pose a threat on both sides of the break. Zeller was denied her hat-trick by the top of the bar when her effort from 20-yards took a layer of paint off of the woodwork on its way out. Abt’s low block to deny Jackie Groenen proved pivotal when moments later the visitors broke and Leonie Pankratz slipped the ball beyond Bösl for her second goal in as many games this week.
The loss confirms that no matter what happens on the last day of the season, Frankfurt will finish the year in fifth, whilst TSG will either be seventh or eighth.
Looking for their own safety, Duisburg travelled to an already downed Gladbach side and took an early lead when Rahel Kiwic thumped Yvonne Zielinski's ball over the goal-line. The attacker was able to break into the box and round Christina Bellinghoven with ease before the defence got back to push her wide. The lead was however short-lived as Mona Lohmann pulled the hosts level seconds after the restart when picked out with a chipped ball and made it two in her last three - lobbing Lena Nuding with ease as the ‘keeper rushed out of her box.
Able to hold onto the draw until the break the second-half saw MSV take an instant lead when the ball worked its way out to Kathleen Radtke at the top of the box and the centre-back was able to take a touch before blasting the ball low past Bellinghoven. Down but not out, Gladbach nearly pulled level in the last twenty minutes, Lohmann and Tiffany Cameron linked well to see the latter get her shot away, but Nuding was equal to the effort, pushing the ball wide at her near post.
The match was wrapped up minutes later when Kiwic made it three when she finished a team move that saw the ball sent from one end of the pitch to the other. Radtke’s ball into the box was just right for the defender to get her head to as she held her run.
Knowing they needed a win to leap-frog their hosts and keep their Champions League dreams alive, Munich took to the pitch in Potsdam like a team possessed still buzzing off of their clinical win over Mönchengladbach in midweek. Pouncing on a poor clearance and lax defending, Melanie Behringer chased her own knock-down into the area before blasting her shot from the top corner of the box to the far bottom corner of the goal with Lisa Schmitz well beaten. With the upper hand from the second minute, Munich attacked at will, happily taking advantage of the sloppy defending and questionably narrow way their hosts had set up.
Sara Däbritz was able to chase Vivianne Miedema’s through ball straight through the heart of the defence before firing beyond Schmitz, and the backline was even more exposed ten minutes later. Pressing for a goal, the Turbines were caught napping as Munich turned possession over and Fridolina Rolfö on the rampage as she tore through midfield before setting up Nicole Rolser. The diminutive attacker was first to the ball, her first touch left Schmitz on the floor before her second sent the ball home.
Three goals down at the break, Potsdam never looked like getting back into the game, Munich were able to ease off the gas as they closed in on UWCL once again, Miedema on hand to add a fourth ten minutes before time when she tucked Däbritz’s neat ball home.
From one point behind to two ahead, all that stand between Munich and another season in Europe is a tricky must-win match against Essen, a draw not enough if Potsdam best Jena as the Turbines have a better goal difference.
Still with a chance of avoiding relegation, Leverkusen got off to the perfect start at the Stadion Essen when Marina Hegering thumped a header past Lisa Weiß at Turid Knaak’s second minute corner. Unfortunately for the visitors, the lead didn’t last and a quick free-kick saw Nina Brüggemann released and she able to cross to the back post for Lea Schüller to head home. The tie turned when Charline Hartmann rocketed the ball against the underside of the bar and in when she found the ball in the box on the stroke of half-time.
The second-half saw Essen move up through the gears to make it another day to forget for Bayer. Vanessa Martini got in on the action ten minutes after the restart with a firm header that saw Klink rooted as the ball curled over her head. The ‘keeper was beaten once again two minutes later when Jacqueline Klasen fired the ball into the open goal. The defence was tied up and drawn in by Linda Dallmann with Klasen able to ghost in the box and send the ball home unmarked. The hosts weren’t done there though, Schüller’s belter from just outside the area was the pick of the bunch, the teenager closed out her hat-trick twelve minutes from time after taking a touch to find space before slotting the ball just inside of the post.
The end of the game couldn’t come soon enough for Leverkusen but there was still time for a seventh. Kozue Andō wasthe beneficiary of Schüller’s hard-work to keep the ball alive at the dead-ball line and Andō’s side-footed finish left the net quivering.
Looking to regain the Bundesliga title, Wolfsburg travelled to Freiburg full of intent knowing a win would cement them as champions for 2016-17 but it seemed as if they’d left their finishing boots at home. Though Pernille Harder and Ewa Pajor came close, Sara Bjork Gunnarsdóttir saw the best chance of the first-half when her rising header at a corner pinged against the underside of the crossbar before bouncing in front of the line but the defence were able to smuggle it clear. Laura Benkarth coming up trumps to save Caroline Hansen’s effort at the near post before the break - the Wolves left frustrated.
Where one team struggled to find the target, everything slipping just wide or over, the other found the back of the net with ease. The deadlock was broken just before the hour when Carolin Simon caught Almuth Schult off her line and chipped the German number one from 40 yards. Simon was on hand to double the advantage ten minutes later after being picked out well by Sandra Starke, the full back was able to take the ball first time from the top corner of the box and her low shot found the far corner. It was almost three for the hosts when Lina Magull nibbled the ball away in her own half and took aim from 60 yards when Schult was once again well off her line but was able to get a hand on the lob to divert it wide.
The result was of little consequence with Potsdam losing at home. Freiburg were able to celebrate their win as the Wolves celebrated their title.