Not many surprises sprung up on matchday 13 in one of the strongest leagues in the world of women's soccer, the Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga.
Reigning champions FC Bayern München have successfully defended their lead, while VfL Wolfsburg and FFC Frankfurt continue hunting them. Meanwhile Turbine Potsdam suffered another devastating loss. Newcomer SC Sand, on the other hand, demonstrated how good they have become once again.
SC Freiburg and Turbine Potsdam kicked off the Rückrunde of the Frauen-Bundesliga with a bang this past Sunday. Freiburg's Cinzia Zehnder and Hasret Kayikci both scored within six minutes (12', 18') in the first half and inflicted Potsdam's 7th loss of the season. The returning Jenista Clark played sixty minutes. Midfielder and German international Lina Magull also officially made her comeback after recovering from a separated shoulder.
Freiburg have climbed up to the fifth place in the table with 21 points while Potsdam remain eighth with only 16 points.
Bayern march on
Bayern's head coach Thomas Wörle complimented the Frauen-Bundesliga newcomers FC Köln after the game and said they "defended with everything they had." Indeed. A late goal by Vivanne Miedema in the 77th minute made sure the reigning title holders started the Rückrunde with a win at home. Die Bayern had to compensate the loss of goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela, who was out with the flu. Manuela Zinsberger occupied the goal instead.
Mana Iwabuchi, who extended her contract a few weeks ago, finally made her comeback after overcoming a long-term injury. American under-23 international and newest Bayern signing Claire Falknor also made her competitive debut in the league and was subbed on for Iwabuchi in the 83th minute.
Die Bayern are still on top of the table with impressive 37 points. FC Köln is the bottom-placed club.
Wolves show their hunger
The treble winners of 2013 started the Rückrunde in Bremen with high expectations. The Wolfsburg Women are eager to regain full confidence and want collect as many points as possible in the Rückrunde after the Hinrunde was full of ups and downs. Caroline Graham Hansen, Vanessa Bernauer and Lena Goessling contributed goals (3', 19', 34') in the first half and calmed the hunger of many Wolves. It was a safe away win against newcomers Werder Bremen in front of 647 spectators.
Goal machine Alex Popp made it back into the starting line-up after injury. Wolfsburg's head coach Ralf Kellermann said on the club's official homepage that he is "very satisfied" with the win. It was his desire to win by a "clear" margin, after the club went into the winter break with a loss.
Wolfsburg remain in second place in the table with 25 points. Werder Bremen are still in a relegation battle with Köln as they are still drop zone with only seven points.
Leverkusen fall apart
Carolin Simon gained the lead for Bayer Leverkusen only 10 minutes into the game, but Amber Hearn, Iva Landeka and Jennifer Martin turned the game around (23', 39', 88') and made sure that three points stayed in Jena. It was relief for FF USV Jena, who steadied the ninth place in the table with a comfortable 16 points. The situation for Bayer Leverkusen remains critical though; for some reason the club has been struggling for a few seasons and are close to joining the relegation battle again this year.
The club has collected a total of nine points out of 13 games so far and is currently tenth in the table, only two points ahead of a relegation spot.
Sand overhauls Essen
Surprise side SC Sand have overhauled SGS Essen with an impressive 4-1-win on matchday 13. Forward Nina Burger led Sand to the win with her brace (14', 45'). Jovana Damnjanovic and Isabelle Meyer added to the lead (78', 89'). U 19-International Lea Schüller scored the temporary equalizer for Essen in the 36th minute, but it had little bearing on the result.
Sand have now taken over fourth place in the table with 21 points, while SGS Essen dropped down to the sixth place with 19 points.
Frankfurt in strong shape
FFC Frankfurt returned from the winter break in strong shape. The club managed to beat TSG Hoffenheim 4-1 in the last game of matchday 13. It was said to be a confident display by Frankfurt. Mandy Islacker was named Player of the Match after her brace (21', 68') in the game. Islacker also assisted Yuki Ogimi's goal in the 79th minute. Legend Kerstin Garefrekes scored the fourth goal in front of 910 spectators. Lina Bürger netted the consolation goal for Hoffenheim in the 83th minute.
Frankfurt are still level with Wolfsburg in the table and remain third with 25 points. Hoffenheim are seventh.