Frauen Bundesliga: Roundup of the first three matchdays

German flag graphic for "Frauen-Bundesliga Buzz" by Helene Sophie Altgelt

After the international break, the Frauen Bundesliga gets underway again next weekend. The third article from the Bundesliga Buzz column is about the first surprises of the season, false starts and outstanding players. 

The table after three matchdays 

Here is the table as it stands after three matchdays. Unsurprisingly, Bayern and Wolfsburg find themselves on top. Bayer Leverkusen continue where they left off last season and Essen’s young talents are in good form. Sand and Freiburg, on the other hand, got off to a bad start and are yet to collect any points.

Bayern, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg on top of the Frauen Bundesliga table 

Bayern in a scoring mood

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Three games, three wins, no goals conceded. Three teams have kept a 100% clean sheet record in the Frauen Bundesliga so far. Bayern have been in a scoring mood, scoring an average of five goals per game. Against Bremen, known for its shaky defence, it was a blowout (8-0) and the 4-0 win against Freiburg was also convincing.

Against relegation candidates Sand on the other hand, it was only enough for a 3-0 victory. Smaller weaknesses in the offensive play were revealed, showing that not everything is working yet. Against teams that only park the bus, there is sometimes a lack of ideas. Nevertheless, they are in strong form. Lea Schüller and Lina Magull have been stand-outs so far.

Wolfsburg with three wins but not without problems

Wolfsburg’s three wins should not hide their problems. Bremen, who had previously been taken apart by Bayern, managed to keep a clean sheet until the 78th minute. It was also obvious in the other games and in the qualifying matches against Bordeaux that just about everything depends on Ewa Pajor in the offensive game. One of her many goals was this screamer against Potsdam that also got nominated for “Goal of the Month” in Germany.

The Pole has scored in every match since returning from injury last spring (16 goals in 11 matches). No doubt that is an impressive statistic, but against bigger opponents, others have to take more responsibility. 

Frankfurt becoming more consistent

Frankfurt seem to have found what they were looking for last season – consistency. In 2020/21, too many points were given away because of lack of concentration and impatience. The offensive trio of Lara Prasnicar, Shekira Martinez and Laura Freigang harmonise well with each other (six goals and six assists between them in three games).

This could also have something to do with the fact that coach Niko Arnautis has switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3, which gives the midfielders more freedom. But difficult tests still await Frankfurt as well, for example, next Saturday against Hoffenheim. First, all Frauen Bundesliga teams will compete in the second round of the DFB-Pokal this weekend. 

Hoffenheim, Leverkusen, Essen and Potsdam with mixed results

Jule Brand excels for Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim showed in the qualifying games against Rosengard that they are also to be reckoned with internationally. With six goals in the two games, their offence was on fire. That was not the case against Essen a few days later – Hoffenheim only managed a tired 0-0. These two wasted points could cost them dearly in the fight for third place.

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In the league, Nicole Billa, who scored 23 goals last year, is yet to really get going. Instead, shooting star Jule Brand is already taking on a lot of responsibility for an 18-year-old. Impressive in Germany’s 5-1 win over Serbia, she always creates danger with her deep runs and crosses.

Leverkusen with unsteady performances

Leverkusen’s weaknesses and strengths have already become quite clear in the first three games. On the one hand, they lost a game in which they actually deserved a draw, 1-2 against Essen, as they conceded two relatively late goals. On the other hand, they showed a strong reaction with a 2-0 win against last year’s fourth-place, Turbine Potsdam. 18-year-old midfielder Lisanne Gräwe was especially convincing with a dream goal and an assist, and dynamic full-back Juliane Wirtz also seems to be developing well this season. 

Essen trust their talents and it works

Essen have the youngest squad with an average age of only 21, and many predicted a difficult season due to some departures. So far, there is no sign of that and the team has not lost yet. A fair 1-1 draw against Köln was followed by a win against Leverkusen and a hard-fought draw against Hoffenheim. So far, the Dutch Jill Baijings is in good form, so less pressure rests on the shoulders of top talent Carlotta Wamser. However, it will be difficult for the young team against established defenders and the big surprise is probably not in the cards. 

Potsdam struggling to score

Turbine Potsdam have not had the best possible start to the season and have three points to date. While the defeat against Wolfsburg probably came as no surprise, the team actually had the ambition to beat Leverkusen. What were the reasons for their defeat? Against Leverkusen, Sofian Chahed’s team did not lack chances, as in the 5:0 win against Jena.

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Especially on the left side with Selina Cerci, Potsdam created many opportunities, but the finishes were less precise than the crosses. They seem to lack a real striker in front of goal. As the offensive play also created gaps in the defence, Leverkusen punished them for wasting their chances with two through balls. If Potsdam work on converting their chances, the team can still have a good season.

Köln, Jena, Bremen, Freiburg and Sand are yet to win

Köln show they can compete in the Frauen Bundesliga

So far, just-promoted Köln have fought their way to a draw against Essen and then lost twice. However, they could take some positives from the 1-2 against Hoffenheim. After all, they took the lead and were anything but without a chance. The same cannot be said about the inglorious 0-4 against Frankfurt.

After three matchdays, it is difficult to assess the team, but they are keeping up well so far. Unlike in previous years, where they were relegated straight back, the team has the necessary competitive toughness for the Frauen Bundesliga. However, they still lack speed at the front and are sometimes a step too late at the back. Sascha Glass’s team now has two tough tests against Bayern and Wolfsburg before they face Jena in a must-win game. 

Hard-earned first point for Jena

Every point counts for Carl Zeiss Jena this season, and they have already won one. After quite clear defeats against Leverkusen and Potsdam, they managed a 1-1 draw against Bremen. In a game their opponent dominated at first, it became clear that Jena is often too passive and struggles to deal with high pressing. On the other hand, they almost scored the winning goal in injury time, so the draw was deserved.

For the team of the only female coach in the Frauen Bundesliga, Anne Pochert, it is now a matter of finding solutions to play out from the back. Jena must work on their headers and winning second balls in particular. 

Bremen more solid after their disaster against Bayern

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Wolfsburg and Bayern are not the easiest opening matches. Therefore, it is not surprising that Bremen has the worst goal difference after 3 match days. However, the improvement in performance between the 0:8 against Bayern and the 0:2 against Wolfsburg was striking. While Bremen let Bayern combine at will and could have conceded even more goals, the Green-Whites were aggressive against Wolfsburg and even created chances themselves. Especially 17-year-old offensive player Maja Sternad, who was very convincing. Against Jena, however, Bremen would probably have hoped for a win, but they did not manage to convert their superiority into goals.

Freiburg defeated by the top teams but no need to panic

Freiburg is not really a team you would expect to see on the second to last spot. Is the team from southern Germany now a relegation candidate? Probably not, because the first games could hardly have been more difficult with Hoffenheim, Frankfurt and Bayern. Moreover, the table does not show that Freiburg dominated the first half against Hoffenheim and kept up well against Frankfurt.

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However, the performance against Bayern (0:4) should give coach Daniel Kraus food for thought. His team barely managed to cross the halfway line, let alone create chances. The young offense with two promising newcomers Svenja Fölmli and Riona Xhemaili, still looks a little uncoordinated. However, the potential was already visible, so Freiburg should probably not be relegated despite the false start. 

Sand with a difficult start to the season

The situation is similar in Sand, as Freiburg’s neighbours have also already played three top teams. They did not manage the big surprise against Frankfurt, Bayern and Wolfsburg. However, they avoided a blowout and the first match against Frankfurt (1-2) was promising. After the cup match, one of the most important games of the season awaits them this weekend against Jena.

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