Season without silverware: What went wrong for FC Bayern Frauen?

FC Bayern
MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 09: Lea Schueller celebrates with Linda Dallmann of Bayern Munich after scoring a goal during the Frauen Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at FC Bayern Campus Platz 1 on October 09, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

It was a little bit of a sensation when FC Bayern Frauen won the Bundesliga title in 2021. It seemed as if they had finally gotten hold of the endless dominance of VfL Wolfsburg in German women‘s football. Based on this, the Munich side’s expectations for the 2021/22 season were high, as they sought to retain their title.

However, they were not fulfilled. At the end of the campaign, FC Bayern Frauen had no silverware to celebrate with their fans. This did by no means match the ambitions of the club. Now, those in charge, as well as supporters deal with one burning question: what went wrong?

FC Bayern: ambition

Prior to the season, the club declared the defence of the league title as one of the main goals. Furthermore, Bayern’s impressive run to the UWCL semi-final in 2021 fulled their hunger for more success in Europe. It was therefore important, to keep the key players and the majority of the title-winning squad at the club for the upcoming season.

Two notable departures were those of defenders Amanda Ilestedt and Simone Boye. To cover these losses, the Munich side’s transfer window was as busy as successful, once again underlining the ambitious approach to the 2021/22 season.

Goalkeeper Janina Leitzig joined as back-up for Laura Benkarth, who was the reliable first choice between the posts. To close the gaps in the back line, Bayern signed the versatile defenders Maximiliane Rall and Glodis Perla Viggosdottir.

The return of Giulia Gwinn from an ACL injury was another boost. She stepped up massively at left back, while maintaining her qualities in attack. In addition, Saki Kumagai joined the Munich side after eight successful years at Olympique Lyonnais. The expectations for her were particularly high, as she was presented as a statement signing for the season.

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FC Bayern: course of the season

FC Bayern had an outstanding, as well as promising start to their campaign. They won all of their first five games with a goal difference of 24-1. However, the Munich side suffered a narrow defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt in October, which cost them vital points, as they were head to head against Wolfsburg in the fight for the top spot in the table.

Bayern’s campaigns in the DFB-Pokal, as well as the UWCL were marked by similar success. The team went on to progress to the next rounds. A notable result from the group stage of the European competition was a 1-0 triumph over record-winner Olympique Lyonnais.

The competition between the Bundesliga top teams continued to heat up, as the other squads had strengthened themselves too over the summer. However, VfL Wolfsburg remained Bayern’s toughest opponent.

FC Bayern: key games lost

As both teams have established themselves as dominating teams in the German league, their clashes can be seen as decisive games of the season. Both encounters of the 2021/22 campaign ended in defeats (0-1, 0-6) for the Munich side.

Wolfsburg‘s impressive display seems to have restored the old order in the Frauen Bundesliga. However, at the time of the second defeat, a heavy Covid-19 outbreak hit the Munich side, which saw many key players out in isolation.

This situation also affected Bayern‘s run in the Champions League. The players tested positive for the virus shortly before the decisive second leg of the quarter-finals against PSG.

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However, at the Parc des Princes in Paris, the Bavarian team played probably their most impressive game of the season. Coming back from behind, they made it to extra time. They had only three substitutes available, of whom two were academy players. PSG scoring the winning goal in injury time left FC Bayern‘s players and supporters heartbroken.

Last hopes gone

Bayern‘s last hopes for silverware ended in the semi-final of the DFB Pokal (the German league cup). Once again, they played their biggest rival from Wolfsburg, who advanced to the big final after a dominant 3:1 win.

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Once it was clear that the club had won no trophies, despite a strong squad and outstanding performances, the responsible took action. Head coach Jens Scheuer left his post on mutual consent after the season was over.

Many had criticised his tactics as too predictable. Scheuer’s style of play heavily relied on his squad’s wingers to progress with the ball and make dangerous crosses into the final third, especially in the box. The head coach also had little flexibility when it came to his game plan.

In addition, Bayern showed severe problems when it came to defending set pieces. Overall, the team lacked dynamic and creativity in front of goal.

Final outlook

Despite the disappointing end of the 2021/22 campaign, the Munich side have a lot to build on. Their outstanding striker Lea Schüller became the Bundesliga’s top scorer of the season, netting impressive 16 times.

Also, the squad rebuilding has already begun. With Lineth Beerensteyn, Vivianne Asseyi, and Marina Hegering, three quality players left the club in May. However, their replacements continue to impress. So far, Bayern have announced the signings of Georgia Stanway, Emelyne Laurent and Tainara de Souza da Silva. The new head coach is expected to arrive soon as well.

Several key players, among them team captain Lina Magull and Klara Bühl, extended their contracts during the season. This highlights the belief, that the players continue to have in the project at FC Bayern. If they’re given enough time to integrate the new players and adapt to the new manager’s tactics, the Munich side will continue to be a long-term candidate for silverware, not only in Germany but in Europe.

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