There was a surprise or two in store when the Frauen-Bundesliga returned from its winter break this weekend as MSV dug out their first points of the season at home to a romping Freiburg team as Werder overcame a two-goal deficit to tie with Sand.
Elsewhere Munich left it late against Essen, TSG slipped to a narrow defeat by Wolfsburg and both Frankfurt and Potsdam claimed healthy respective wins over FCK and Jena.
FC Köln 0-3 FFC Frankfurt
Gifted the chance to take the lead at a deep free kick, the hosts could only think about “what ifs” as the ball bounced around between Meikayla Moore, Karoline Kohr and Desirée Schumann, the visitors somehow managing to clear their lines. From then on it became the Frankfurt show with Jackie Groenen setting up Lise Munk on the half-hour, the Dane striking the ball from the top of the D, lofting it over the box and guiding it just under the bar.
Asking questions throughout, Kumi Yokoyama twice saw her efforts cannon off of the woodwork before she finally found the back of the net late in the day, with a dribbled effort that bested Anne-Kathrine Kremer on the other side of a Sophie Schmidt penalty.
SC Sand 2-2 Werder Bremen
Two goals down half an hour in, Bremen pulled off one of the escapes of the season to leave Sand’s Orsay Stadium with a point to keep their survival hopes intact.
A lofted ball chipped back into the mixer brought about the first goal for the hosts, Milena Nikolić’s sloppy header twitched the ball on for Sylvia Arnold to crack the ball high and watch it loop over Anneke Borbe. A good chance for Verena Volkmer was followed by what should have been the knock-out blow, Sand’s Austrian connection working well as Laura Feiersinger laid the ball low for Nina Burger to slot into the bottom corner.
The two-goal lead lasted just five minutes however as Werder refused to let their heads drop and found the target through Pia-Sophie Wolter, her low finish similar to Burger’s at the other end. Bagging her second of the season, Katharina Schiechtl rose highest to head home at an early second half free kick, Carina Schlüter way out of her goal but getting nothing on the lofted ball before the Austrian connected.
There were still chances for both to claim all three points, the hosts striking the bar twice and Stephanie Goddard with a goal ruled out late in the day, the shared points doing little to change the table.
The team dead-last without a point over the first-half of the season against the side second in the table with designs on the title, few could have anticipated the result, Duisburg’s delight at the whistle palpable.
Kathleen Radtke’s fourth minute free kick opened up the match and brought about the first goal when Lucie Haršányová pounced from six-yards, her touch enough to send the ball spinning to the other side of the goal and out of Laura Benkarth’s reach. Having just watched the ball bounce from the post to Lena Nuding’s back after Giulia Gwinn’s snapshot the visitors found their parity when Janina Minge thumped the ball into the goal at a pingy free kick. Needing more than one bite of the cherry for everything they did it was on little surprise that the sport club failed to conjure a second, no matter how hard they tried.
Having not won a league game since May – their penultimate match of the 2016-17 season against already relegated Borussia Mönchengladbach – MSV’s patience persevered when they found the winner at the death. Nuding’s deep free kick arced over the middle of the park before bouncing by Kim Fellhauer, the 20-year-old caught cold as late substitute Danica Wu raced past her onto the loose ball. Following an ill-advised dash out of her box, Benkarth attempted to take on Wu and clear the ball only to miss both as the Canadian’s eyes lit up. Needing only to hit the ball true down the centre of the box with enough juice on it to stop Fellhauer from intervening, Wu held her nerve and let the ball run softly through the box and into the gaping goal, the three points saying in Duisburg.
The win not doing anything to lift MSV from the bottom of the table though it cuts the deficit in a very real way, the win a long-time coming and theoretically enough to give the Zebras a boost for the second half of the season. However the result as had an immediate effect on the top of the table, Freiburg dropping into third – five points adrift of Wolfsburg and two short of the Munich side who’ve just leapfrogged them.
With both teams desperate to move up at their respective ends of the table, the hearty win has helped Potsdam keep pace but provide another blow for strugglers, Jena.
Close in the sixth minute, Viktoria Schwalm had to wait to grab her first goal of the year, Shannon Woeller nowhere near to clear the effort off of the line when Schwalm connected at a corner, the ball knocked under Erin McLeod and into the back of the net. A goal to the good, the visitors made their quality count after the break, Rahel Kiwic’s header at another corner enough to double the advantage as it clipped off of the post and in. A sloppy foul on Svenja Huth brought about the third of the match, captain Johanna Elsig assured from 12-yards to send McLeod the wrong way and nip the ball into the bottom left corner. Elsig on hand to claim a rare brace – her first since 2013 – just two minutes later when she rose well to nod another scrappy corner home, leaving the game well out of reach.
Yet to really make her mark on the team she joined over the summer, Nina Ehegötz found her first league goal for the Turbines when she came on in her eighth sub’ appearance of the season. Substitutes combining five minutes from time when Eseosa Aigbogun fed the ball in for Ehegötz, the 20-year-old needing a touch to sort her feet out and gain an inch on her marker before slotting the ball home for the fifth and final time in the match.
Turid Knaak’s first half goal could only count for so much at the Grünwalder when the hosts came from behind late in the day to claim all three points. Not really on their game, Munich weathered a storm from the Esseners, Manuela Zinsberger making a couple of big saves as the visitors came close, but not close enough, to furthering their lead and finding a vital cushion.
The match turned on its head fifteen minutes from time when substitute Nicole Rolser slid in to connect with Fridolina Rolfö’s square ball and volley it past 17-year-old Kim Sindermann just four minutes after coming on. The big Swede involved again at the very death to bring Zinsberger’s goal kick under control before slicing up the right wing and firing low, through Sindermann’s legs and into the back of the net. Essen undone late in Munich for the third season running, the Bavarians up to second with the win.
Far from their best on the day, Wolfsburg remained the dominant force over the match, though given little to work with by the dogged visitors it’s of little surprise that the scores remained so close.
The breakthrough came fifteen minutes in when Friederike Abt came to claim a Zsanett Jakabfi corner but failed to get any chunk of the ball leaving her goal exposed for Pernille Harder to slot home. At a disadvantage for most of the game, TSG did see their chances, notably Nicole Billa drawing a fine save from Almuth Schult before the break and Maximiliane Rall wrapping the ball behind the goalkeeper and against the upright but somehow failing to convert as the defence smuggled it away on the line.
Throughout WOB asked questions, the hosts slacking a little after the hour, but still doing enough to make it hard for the league-leaders, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir’s hopeful effort only enough ping off of the bar before Harder caught the outer netting. A team set-up with a clear plan, TSG would have been disappointed that they couldn’t convert their better chances, the 1-0 score a sizeable improvement on their 6-0 loss at the start of the season.