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Bundesliga, Matchday 22: Potsdam clinches the fourth straight title

By Olaf Goldbecker – Situation before today’s final matches (all played at 2 p.m. local time): the two Champions League spots go to Potsdam and Wolfsburg, Hamburg withdraws from the league – some important decisions are dropped. Yet the champion and the remaining relegation spots were to be determined. There was a huge probability that both will be seen in the game Potsdam v Leipzig – if Potsdam wins they are champion and Leipzig is relegated. The other games only get a meaning if this is not the case. The script of this matchday:

#2: Frankfurt v Duisburg 1-0. Saki Kumagai scores. Frankfurt seems to be able to strike when there is no pressure.

#18: Frankfurt v Duisburg 1-1. Mandy Islacker ties the match.

#19: Potsdam v Leipzig 1-0. Patricia Hanebeck passes out to the right to Anomna, she sends it directly to the middle where Yuki Nagasato has no problem to score. The championship? Right now it rather looks like a high win than a point for Leipzig

#20: Frankfurt v Duisburg 1-2. Gülhiye Cengiz strikes for Duisburg. Fourth straight loss for Frankfurt?

#27: Jena v Freiburg 1-0. With this score Jena can be relaxed as they cannot relegate anymore regardless of other scores. Julia Arnold is the goal scorer.

#28: München v Hamburg 1-0. Clara Schöne scores the lead for Munich in Hamburg’s last Bundesliga game for a while. The club withdraws them to the third division for financial reasons.

#36: Potsdam v Leipzig 2-0. Extraordinary good vision by Patricia Hanebeck who plays back to Antonia Göransson and strikes. In the minutes before, both teams could have gotten a penalty kick. Potsdam also had bad luck when hitting crossbar and post; the championship is pretty secure at this point.

#39: Potsdam v Leipzig 3-0. Kerschowski’s shot is saved by Härling but Anomna heads in the rebound. She must have scored a minute earlier already. Strike number 21 of the season gives her a two goals lead over Wolfsburg’s Conny Pohlers in the top striker ranking.

#45: München v Hamburg 2-0. Ivana Rudelic adds the second goal with the half time whistle.

HALFTIME: Potsdam is on the way to the championship. Wolfsburg even has problems to fulfill the own task, didn’t have more than one scoring opportunity against Essen. Jena and Leverkusen can breathe a bit more relaxed due to Leipzig’s score.

Essen v Wolfsburg 0-0
Jena v Freiburg 1-0
Bad Neuenahr v Leverkusen 0-0
München v Hamburg 2-0
Potsdam v Leipzig 3-0
Frankfurt – Duisburg 1-2

#55 Potsdam v Leipzig 4:0. Anomna strikes goal number 22 of the season; nice strike into the upper right corner. The score now is equal to hitting the goal posts.

#57 München v Hamburg 2:1. Janina Haye puts Hamburg on the scoreboard.

#58 Frankfurt v Duisburg 2:2. Kerstin Garefrekes ties for Frankfurt.

#58 Jena v Freiburg 2:0. Sabrina Schumtzler increases the score. After a great first half season Freiburg only gets six points in 2012, only Leipzig was worse.

#62 Frankfurt v Duisburg 2:3. Open game for the third spot in Frankfurt. Mandy Islacker marks her second of the day.

#64 Potsdam v Leipzig 5:0. Yuki Nagasato adds another one.

#65 München v Hamburg 3:1. Hamburg’s cup nightmare Sarah Hagen cares for creating the old gap again.

#66 Frankfurt v Duisburg 3:3. The scoring continues as Melanie Behring ties again.

#70 Potsdam v Leipzig 6:0. Anne Heller fails to mark on a sitter for Leipzig and just shortens the post hitter stats to 1-4, while the counter attack leads to another goal by Yuki Nagasato.

#71 Essen v Wolfsburg 0:1. Nadine Kessler scores on a penalty kick. Still no convincing performance of the second-place finishers.

#71 Jena v Freiburg 3:0. Amber Hearn increases the score for Jena.

#74 München v Hamburg 4:1. Lena Lotzen seals the deal for Munich.

#80 Frankfurt v Duisburg 4:3. Dszenifer Marozsan strikes and would send her team to rank 3 if they keep the score.

#82 Frankfurt v Duisburg 5:3. This should be rank 3 for Frankfurt now, Ana Maria Crnogorcevic scores.

#84: Essen v Wolfsburg 1:1. Long free kick by Essen and still Charline Hartmann stands freely in a central position and heads in.

#86: Potsdam v Leipzig 7:0. Margret Lara Vidarsdottir didn’t have the best days in Potsdam, but at least scores in her last game.

#88: Potsdam v Leipzig 8:0. A direct free kick is smashed home by Isabel Kerschowski. A hard but not an unstoppable shot.

FINAL SCORES
Essen v Wolfsburg 1-1
Jena v Freiburg 3-0
Bad Neuenahr v Leverkusen 0-0
München v Hamburg 4-1
Potsdam v Leipzig 8-0
Frankfurt v Duisburg 5-3

Champion: Turbine Potsdam (56 pts)
Champions League: VfL Wolfsburg (53 pts)

3 1.FFC Frankfurt (46)
4. FCR Duisburg (45)
5. SG Essen-Schönebeck (31)
6. FC Bayern München (28)
7. SC Bad Neuenahr (26)
8. SC Freiburg (23)
9. Hamburger SV (22)
10. FF USV Jena (18)
11. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (15)
12. 1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig (13)

Relegating: Lokomotive Leipzig. Bayer Leverkusen would have relegated if Hamburger SV hadn’t withdrawn the team from Bundesliga for the next season. New in the league for 2012/13: FSV Gütersloh and VfL Sindelfingen

Players Abroad: Bayern Munich’s Niki Cross

The Our Game Magazine entourage took a journey to Germany last week and found FC Bayern Munich’s Niki Cross. We caught up with the 2012 Pokal Cup champion, who is one of a select few Americans who have ever played for Bayern Munich.

Name: Niki Cross
Age: 26
Birthday: May 30, 1985
Hometown: Pembroke, Massachusetts
Current Team: FC Bayern Munchen
Previous Team: Boston Breakers

How did you come to play for Bayern Munich this year?

I spent the month of November traveling around and had tryouts with different German clubs. I have always wanted to play in Germany because I have both German and U.S. citizenship. Bayern was the best fit for me.

What has the experience been like so far? What have you learned about soccer? Being in a foreign country? About yourself?

My experience has been has consisted of some extreme ups and downs. At first, I had a really hard time adjusting because I suffered an injury after being in Germany for only 10 days. I had surgery and spent the next few months doing rehab. This made it harder to be part of a new team, never mind being part of the starting line up. I thought I would be cheering on my team in the Pokal semifinal, but with some injuries the week before the semifinal I found myself starting and scoring two goals in first 10 minutes. Living in a foreign countries teaches you independence and confidence; you have the chance to recreate yourself. You don’t have your family or friends for around, but you get the chance to explore the world and step out of your comfort zone with new people.

What do you miss most from home?

The two things I miss the most are my family and Chipotle. Im thinking family dinner at Chipotle the second I get off the plane.

What was it like to win the German Cup beating one of the best teams in the world in the process?

It’s by far one of the best accomplishments of my career. It is just now starting to sink in. Im very proud of my team and how we played. We went into the game with a lot of confidence after a win over top-ranked Duisburg and totally disregarded the fact that we were the underdogs in the final. This time last year I was merely a bench player, and now I’m a Pokal Champion.

Niki Cross, right, had tremendous success with Bayern Munich this season. (Photo copyright Mirko Kappes)
Niki Cross, right, had tremendous success with Bayern Munich this season. (Photo copyright Mirko Kappes)

You recently signed on for two more years with the team. What were your main reasons for staying?

Bayern has felt like home ever since I signed in January. Our team is something special and I wanted the chance to continue playing with them. Not only do I love the club, but the city itself is just a place I enjoy living.

What things do you do in your spare time?

I try and explore Munich as much as I can. I think it’s important to try and absorb as much as the culture as I can while Im living in Germany. It’s a city with such interesting great history. We often go to support other FC Bayern teams, both the men’s team and men’s basketball team.

Can you talk about playing styles in the different countries you’ve played in – Sweden, the U.S., Australia, Norway, and now Germany.

I have played for so many different coaches, with some many different philosophies, but over the last few years, everyone tries and mirrors the style of Barcelona. Every coach has at some point brought up how Barcelona plays, whether it’s defensive or offensive. Germany is one of my favorite places to play, and I think the style of play is more fitting to me than in other foreign countries I’ve played in. Bayern is a mix of technical skill and physical strength and fitness. Even some of the players who are not tactically smart have far superior technical skills than me.

What is your favorite thing about Germany so far?

My favorite thing about Germany so far was attending the Champion League final. After winning the Pokal final, Bayern gifted the women’s team with tickets to the CL final. Unfortunately, Chelsea won.

Damallsvenskan Round 7: Top teams Tyresö and LdB Malmö stunned

By Rainer Fussgänger – Last week, we discussed the superiority of both reigning champions LdB FC Malmö and Tyresö FF. After a very special Sunday where both favorites lost their games, they are back on planet Earth. Tyresö leads Damallsvenskan after round 7 with 15 points on better goal difference than Malmö and Vittsjö.

Umeå IK vs Jitex BK 1-1
Attendance: 416
Umeå: Fanny Hjelm (Emmelie Konradsson) 91’
Jitex: Sofia Karlsson 86’

The Jitex players were not happy in their hotel in Umeå Saturday night. A late goal after a corner gave them the lead and hope for three points, but an equalizer by Fanny Hjelm in stoppage time makes Jitex tie for the third time in a row after leading. For Umeå, the draw is important after three defeats.

Vittsjö GIK vs Djurgården 4-1
Attendance: 976
Vittsjö: Sandra Adolfsson (Sofie Andersson) 66’, Sofie Andersson (Johanna Andersson) 77’, Kirsty Yallop (Sofie Andersson) 84’, Johanna Andersson (Kirsty Yallop) 86’
Djurgården: Natalia Rickne (Madeleine Stegius) 87

Vittsjö lost recently against Malmö, 4-1, and in the third round of the Swedish Cup against Division 3 side Rödeby, and some thought that the ”fairy tale” was over now. And Vittsjö had a difficult first half when Djurgården did not give them much space to play their game. But Coach Thomas Mårtensson changed tactics in the second half and made his team attack more using both wings instead of playing central. Djurgården broke down within 20 minutes and is again last.

Piteå IF vs KIF Örebro 3-0
Attendance: 806
Piteå: Hanna Pettersson (Josefin Johansson) 30’, Hanna Pettersson (Sofie Persson) 50’, Josefin Johansson (Hanna Pettersson) 53’

2012 is not KIF Örebro’s year. “We have been fifth twice now, and I am tired of fifth places,” midfielder Marie Hammarström said in the press meeting in the beginning of April. What about a 10th position? Örebro’s defense concedes far too many goals – the defense that was always KIF Örebro’s trademark. With Sara Larsson still injured and this time even Marina Pettersson away Piteå had no problems taking three important points when Stephanie Labbé for once returned to her old homeground at LF Arena.

AIK vs LdB FC Malmö 2-0
Attendance: 340
AIK: Jennie Nordin (Nazanin Vaseghpanah) 60’, Elin Bragnum (Clara Markstedt) 93’

AIK's Therese Boström and Sarah Fredriksson defend against Anja Mittag (right). Photo by Rainer Fussgänger

If somebody had told the AIK players that their first victory would come when they meet champions LdB FC Malmö, they would not have believed it. Malmö dominated in the first half, and Ramona Bachmann hit the post and the crossbar. Once again, AIK defended almost heroically by going long distances and trying to keep away Malmö’s dangerous forwards from the ball. Nazanin Vaseghpanahs free kick after one hour came into the box and U-19 Swedish international Jennie Nordin jumped higher than all the others and headed the ball at the inside of the post and into the net. That gave AIK wings, and they suddenly seemed to have more energy. They definitely wanted this more than Malmö. When Malmö sent all its forces into the AIK half and there were only a few seconds to go, Clara Markstedt ran away on the right wing and delivered a perfect pass to another U-19 international, Elin Bragnum, and she scored and decided the game. I spoke among others to Jennie Nordin after the game. “It is just incredible. We worked so hard recently. It is beautiful that today we see that it was all worth doing it.”

Happy AIK players after the game. Photo By Rainer Fussgänger

Tyresö FF vs Kristianstads DFF 1-2
Attendance: 1,628
Tyresö: Madelaine Edlund (Marta) 35’
Kristianstad: Therese Björck (Susanne Moberg) 16’, Kosovare Asllani (Susanne Moberg) 52’

When Malmö had lost three points in the game against AIK, Tyresö had still half an hour to play against Kristianstad, but they also were down after another goal from Kosovare Asllani. The Swedish international has scored four goals within one month in three away games in the Stockholm area. Three of those goals were decisive. Kristianstad had a really bad start with only one point out of the three first games. They followed that up with winning the maximum of 12 points out of four and close in to the leading three clubs. After this surprising Sunday, Damallsvenskan seems to be as open as it started – almost.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

Bundesliga, Matchday 21: Big wins seal Champions League spots for Potsdam and Wolfsburg

A recap of the second to last matchday in the 2011/12 Bundesliga. The big story is the fight to stave off relegation for the bottom teams, while Turbine Potsdam edged closer to its fourth straight title. Here is a full roundup and also scenarios for the final matchday.

By Olaf Goldbecker

VfL Wolfsburg v 1.FFC Frankfurt 1:0 (0:0)
Frankfurt would have required a win to keep the last chance of the Champions League alive, while Wolfsburg was hoping that Potsdam would trip to take over the top spot in the league. One goal was scored and this by a penalty kick (like in the CL final it was Melanie Behringer who fouled), scored by Lena Goessling after 56 minutes in front of a record crowd of 8,689. For Frankfurt it was the third straight important loss within eight days.

FCR 2001 Duisburg v Turbine Potsdam 0:2 (0:0)
Top game number two was played in Duisburg where the hosts needed a win for a tiny chance on the championship and a realistic shot at a Champions League spot. Potsdam of course wanted the win to maintain the top position in the league. The game was without tons of scoring chances; Potsdam was the better team but did not have the best opportunities to convert. Game winner was Patricia Hanebeck, who spent her youth career and the first Bundesliga years with Duisburg. She scored right after halftime and with four minutes left on the clock to calm down the nerves of her team when Duisburg was pushing for the equalizer.

Lokomotive Leipzig v Bayern München 2:2 (1:1)
Short night for Bayern’s women. After watching the Champions League final of their men’s team they started to Leipzig this morning. Sarah Hagen was awake on time, scored the lead for her team after half an hour. Yet keeper Kathrin Längert was sent off for a foul as last player right before halftime. Anne Heller converted the following penalty kick. Same picture in the second half, again Hagen marked the lead for her team, and again Heller tied the match.

Hamburger SV v SC 07 Bad Neuenahr 0:4 (0:1)
Workout for the visitors in Hamburg. Sarah Gregorius before the break, Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh, Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, and Nicole Rolser after the halftime whistle cared for the clear win.

Bayer Leverkusen v FF USV Jena 3:2 (0:1)
A must win game for Bayer; one point would not have been enough to avoid relegation against the direct opponent. Vivien Beil scored the lead for Jena right before halftime, so Bayer was under lots of pressure in period two. Eunice Beckmann tied in minute 52, and with 10 minutes left on the clock, Lisa Schwab cared for the lead for the home team. Yet the shock followed in the 86th minute when Kathleen Radtke tied the match again. The heartbreaker found and end in the last minute when Bayer received a penalty kick and Katie Bethke kept the nerves to convert for the win.

SC Freiburg v SG Essen-Schönebeck 0:3 (0:1)
The game was rather meaningless for the league. Charline Hartmann scored all three goals of the game, which was closer than the score indicates. The second goal was scored in minute 89, the last in stoppage time.

Situation: Next week Monday will be the final matchday. Potsdam – the team with the best defense of the league – just needs a win to clinch its fourth straight title. Wolfsburg – the team with the best offense – is just one point behind and would win the tiebreaker in case of getting this one point more. Duisburg sits on the third spot, Frankfurt is fourth – they will meet in a direct comparison to determine who finishes on which spot. Essen will for sure finish fifth. They are followed by four teams without sorrows and who just fight for positions: Bad Neuenahr and Munich (25 each), Freiburg (23) and Hamburg (22). The relegation battle is as interesting as the top. Jena is still safe with 15 pts, but Leverkusen (14) and Leipzig (13) still have chances to stay in.

The key matches next Monday: Potsdam hosts Leipzig – easy on paper but Leipzig will fight for their chance in the relegation battle, needs a win and fitting results of the opponents to reach the safety. Wolfsburg is waiting for Potsdam to trip and travels to Essen for the last match. Jena hosts Freiburg, while Leverkusen travels to Bad Neuenahr

Scenarios:

Potsdam is champion with a win, or with any other result if Wolfsburg doesn’t score more points than Potsdam does

Wolfsburg is champion when they collect one point more than Potsdam does

Jena stays in the league with a win, with a draw if Leverkusen doesn’t win, with a loss if Leverkusen and Leipzig don’t win

Leverkusen stays in the league with a win if Jena doesn’t win; with a draw if Jena loses and Leipzig doesn’t win

Leipzig stays in the league with a win if Jena loses and at the same time Leverkusen doesn’t win

Damallsvenskan Round 6: More of the same as Malmö and Tyresö win and Anja Mittag continues scoring tear

By Rainer Fussgänger – Malmö and Tyresö keep on winning their matches. Anja Mittag scored goals No. 8, 9, and 10. Bad news for Swedish WNT coach Thomas Dennerby: centre back Charlotte Rohlin suffered an ACL. Here’s a recap of round 6.

Linköpings FC vs KIF Örebro 1-1
Attendance: 255
Linköping: Petra Larsson (Louise Fors) 65’
KIF Örebro: Sarah Michael (Marie Hammarström) 9’
Only bad news for Linköping after the first game in round 6. Charlotte Rohlin suffered an ACL tear after only four minutes, and even Nilla Fischer had to leave the pitch with pain in her hip. Add to that, 255 spectators is a horrible number for attendance, and that the team lost two more points, and you have all the ingredients to call that a bad night for the home team. Still Linköping has problems in scoring with Manon Melis injured and Lisa DeVanna without goal after six games.

Tyresö FF vs AIK 1-0
Attendance: 1,671
Tyresö: own goal 78’

Marta saw yellow for Tyreso in its 1-0 win over AIK (Photo by Rainer Fussganger)

Three points and a clean sheet. That will be the history of this game in a few weeks. Tyresö dominated the game, but AIK defended themselves bravely. They had one good opportunity to score in the beginning, and after that Tyresö did not use their chances and was even too uninspired to score more than one goal. Marta received a well-deserved yellow for complaining against referee decisions. She could have seen at least another yellow for yelling at the linesman and at people in the audience who supported AIK. It was neither her nor Tyresö’s day, but it ended with a victory.

 

 

 

 

LdB FC Malmö vs Vittsjö GIK 4-1
Attendance: 931
LdB FC Malmö: own goal 24’, Anja Mittag (Elin Rubensson) 75’, Anja Mittag (Elin Rubensson) 81’, Anja Mittag (Therese Sjögran) 91’
Vittsjö: Danesha Adams (Emma Sjödahl) 66’
Anja Mittag continues to be the goal queen of the Damallsvenskan. Official statistics credit her even the first of Malmö’s four goals, but her cross would not have reached the goal if a Vittsjö leg had not touched it. Malmö was the better team throughout the whole match, but Vittsjö’s equalizer gave them at least 10 minutes of nervousness and trouble before Mittag scored again. Again, Elin Rubensson came up with two assists.

Kristianstads DFF vs Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC 4-1
Attendance: 476
Kristianstad: Susanne Moberg (Kosovare Asllani) 55’, Susanne Moberg (Johanna Rasmussen) 75’, Johanna Rasmussen (Kosovare Asllani) 83’, Susanne Moberg 86’
Göteborg: Sara Lindén (Anita Asante) 81’
Kristianstads’ third win in a row now puts Göteborg in a position five points behind the leaders Malmö and Tyresö. Remarkable that Göteborg, which had the best defensive line in 2011, now have seven goals against them within a week. Being the better team in the first half, Moberg’s lead after 55 minute changed the character of the game. Rumor has it that Icelandic forward Margret Lara Vidarsdottir might come back to Kristianstad after a bad time in Potsdam without much play.

Djurgården vs Umeå IK 1-0
Attendance: 503
Djurgården: Mia Jalkerud (Sofia Nilsson) 6’

Djurgården's Katrin Jonsdottir and Umeå IK's Jenny Hjohlman (Photo By Rainer Fussganger)

When Mia Jalkerud scored her early goal, Umeå showed that they are still shocked and shaken after their two heavy losses against Malmö (1-7) and Tyresö (1-5). Centre backs Emma Berglund and Alexandra Nilsson were very unstable and gave Jalkerud more chances to increase the lead. Even though Umeå had two shots that hit the crossbar. The Djurgården win was well-deserved and gives them a new start of the season as centre back Katrin Jonsdottir told me: “I had almost forgotten how it feels to win a match.”

Umea's Jenny_Hjohlman takes a shot on goal against Djurgarden's Gudbjörg Gunnarsdottir (Photo By Rainer Fussganger)

Jitex vs Piteå IF 2-2
Attendance: 237
Jitex: Sofia Karlsson (Katri Nokso-Koivisto) 13’, Katri Nokso-Koivisto (Christina Julien) 70’
Piteå: Jennifer Nobis (Lena Blomkvist) 27’, Ann-Mari Dovland (Victoria Forsmark) 82’
A good match between two teams of the middle section of the table had no winner. As always Jitex had only 237 spectators watching the game on Sunday afternoon. Jennifer Nobis scored her fifth goal of the season. This season everything seems to be possible for the teams between No. 3 and 10 in Damallsvenskan.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

Life After Soccer: Danielle Slaton

As I sit down to write about my life after soccer, I am stirred by the timeliness of this post. Just today, the mailman delivered Sports Illustrated to my apartment. Junior Seau is on the cover. This edition covers Seau’s successful career and tragic death, discussing the idea of post-athletic career depression. I saw the magazine in my mailbox and immediately sat down to read the articles. I felt like I could connect to the feelings of uncertainty and fear and sadness that can sometimes coincide with the end of an athlete’s career. I sit here today as a confident and happy woman, but the road I traveled to get here was challenging at times.

I played professionally and for the U.S Women’s National Team, and my playing career was cut short due to a knee injury. After going back to school to earn my college degree, I became a college soccer coach at Northwestern University. I earned a master’s degree. I now work in the education field where I teach leadership development and design curriculum, tests, and lesson-plans for instructors. I also get to travel on behalf of US Soccer and the US State Department to teach young girls and boys about the life skills that soccer can provide. I have a great network of friends, and I even play on a co-ed recreational team each week. We are decent, not great, but we always have fun! Just this month, I have started to train for my first triathlon. I am very blessed, but for a while after I retired, I struggled to appreciate all that I had.

When I hung up my boots, I had a hard time finding my identity. Soccer had been such a large part of who I was that I struggled defining my place without it. Were the most successful days of my life already behind me? What do I want to do with my life now? Because my career ended abruptly, I hadn’t spent much time thinking about what I wanted to pursue when I finished playing soccer. It took me a few years of reflection and self-discovery to figure that out.

But, after my experiences as an athlete, and after pushing to discover who I want to be in the next phase of my life, these are a few things I know:
1. The determination, commitment, and dedication I learned as a soccer player have served me well in recent years. Even when I am struggling, I know I am strong.
2. My best days in life are still ahead of me.
3. Soccer gave me many tools that I use in my life today: I know how to be a good teammate at work. I know how to fight for what I want. I set goals, and strive for success every day.
4. My transition to a life after soccer taught me many things as well: Giving in doesn’t mean you are giving up. Working harder isn’t always the right answer. I don’t have to be tough all the time to be successful.

Danielle Slaton was a defender for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She played collegiately at Santa Clara University and later played on the professional ranks with the Carolina Courage of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), leading the Courage to the WUSA Championship. That year, she was named WUSA Defender of the Year.

Bayern Munich wins the national cup title

By Olaf Goldbecker – Surprise in Germany: Bayern Munich defeated the favorites, 1.FFC Frankfurt, 2-0 (0-0), and won the lucrative DFB Cup title for the first time in club history. Right from the start in Cologne’s Rhine Energy Stadium, Munich showed that they were not willing to donate the cup to Frankfurt. Isabel Bachor (2) and Sarah Hagen had first opportunities for score. After 10 minutes, Frankfurt slowly got into the game, but chances remained seldom on both sides. Most promising scenes happened after set pieces like Melanie Behringer’s free kick, which was not saved properly by Bayern goalie Kathrin Längert, but she had luck that the shot hit the crossbar.

A corner kick proved to be the decisive scene. Stefanie Mirlach, whose transfer to Turbine Potsdam after the season was announced this week, sent in her cross, and Hagen headed in against three defenders. Twenty-seven minutes remained for Frankfurt, but they did not create a single scoring opportunity anymore while still allowing the luxury to keep international top players like Saki Kumagai, Jessica Landström, and Sara Thunebro on the bench. One minute stoppage time was announced, and Bayern Munich made use of it to seal the deal. Hagen won an air ball and headed into the run of Ivana Rudelic, who just entered the field short before and had no problems to finish.

Frankfurt: Schumann – Weber, Bartusiak, Lewandowski, Percival – Maroszan, Smisek, Behringer, Garefrekes (70 Chojnowski), Huth – Bajramaj (40 Crnogorcevic)

Munich: Längert – Huyleur (89 Rudelic), Wenninger, de Pol, Baunach – Feiersinger, Cross, Schnaderbeck, Bürki (85 Schöne) – Hagen, Bachor (61 Lotzen)

0:1 Hagen (63 Baunach), 0:2 Rudelic (90+1 Hagen)

Attendance: 15.583 in Cologne

Damallsvenskan Round 5: Vittsjö quickly climbing up the ladder, while Tyresö dominates again

By Rainer Fussgänger – Two of the championship candidates lost important points, while both Malmö and Tyresö won their matches in the very north of Sweden. At the bottom, the struggle for the Stockholm teams AIK and Djurgården gets more and more difficult now with five points behind.

AIK vs Kristianstads DFF 2-3
Attendance: 168
AIK: Maija Saari 26′, Jennie Nordin (Elin Borg) 55′
Kristianstad: Mia Carlsson (Katrin Omarsdottir) 4′, Kosovare Asllani (PK) 33′, Kosovare Asllani 63′

Kristianstad's Kosovare Asllani sends a cross to Canadian international Sophie Schmidt (Photo By Rainer Fussgänger)

Former Chicago Red Star Kosovare Asllani scored goals No. 2 and 3 within one week in the two away games of the Southern team in the capital region. AIK played with a lot of heart and created some opportunities, but in the end, Kristianstad had the energy for 90 minutes. “It is always difficult to play teams like Djurgården last week and AIK now,” Kosovare, or “Kosse” as she is called, told me after the game. “AIK played quite aggressive in the defense and after our first two goals we became to comfortable and gave them space to play. I do not think of the Olympic Games, I think only of Kristianstad,” she answered the question if she hopes to be a part of the Swedish WNT for London this summer.

Kristianstad's Johanna Rasmussen looks to get past AIK's Malin Diaz (Photo By Rainer Fussgänger)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KIF Örebro vs Djurgården 3-0

Attendance: 363
KIF Örebro: Elin Magnusson (Marie Hammarström) 24′, Caroline Näfver (Linda Fransson) 71′, Marie Hammarström (Sarah Michael) 77′

While AIK at least scored twice against Kristianstad, Djurgården once again did not manage to score in their away game in Örebro. The home team that suffered two embarrassing defeats against Tyresö (7-0) and Göteborg (6-0) dominated almost the whole game with a quarter of good offensive play by Djurgården in the beginning of the second half. Djurgården coach Patrick Eklöf mentioned that they still miss some injured players. “Today we were in the right spots when they scored, but we did not do the right things,” he commented.

Vittsjö GIK vs Linköpings FC 3-0
Attendance: 901
Vittsjö: Sofie Andersson (Sandra Adolfsson) 79′, Danesha Adams (Kirsty Yallop) 86′, Danesha Adams (Johanna Andersson) 88′

“I am glad as long as it lasts. Right now, the fairytale goes on,” a happy captain Sofie Andersson said after Vittsjö took its fourth win in a remarkable streak. Against Linköping, with a lot of internationals in the roster, it was quite an open game during almost the whole match. But as Andersson said, right now Vittsjö has the patience to wait until their chance is coming and during nine magical minutes Linköping’s dreams of another championship turned grey and seem to be far away now. Danesha Adams scored her third and fourth goals and told her opponents in the league on Twitter to “keep underestimating” Vittsjö, which is now in a third position behind only Tyresö and Malmö.

Piteå IF vs LdB FC Malmö 0-2
Attendance: 892
Malmö: own goal 42′, Elin Rubensson (Anja Mittag) 89′

Who is the best joker in the league? There is little doubt that the answert to that question must be Elin Rubensson. The 19-year-old came in as a substitute for the fifth time now and scored her fourth goal. Some people already demand a spot in the first lineup for her, especially since Ramona Bachmann has not yet reached her normal level. Piteå played a very good game in the defense and put some pressure on Malmö, but in the end, Malmö won the big points and scored in the sensitive last minutes of each half.

Umeå IK vs Tyresö FF 1-5
Attendance: 3,125
Umeå: Emma Berglund (Rita Chikwelu) 75′
Tyresö: Line Röddik Hansen 38′, Kirsten van de Ven (Vero Boquete) 55′, Vero Boquete (Marta) 59′, Kirsten van de Ven (Marta) 61′, Line Röddik Hansen (Madelaine Edlund) 66′

After getting seven goals from Malmö, Umeå has to live with another five from Tyresö. However, the first 30 minutes were really good from the home side, which could say hello to 3,125 spectators – a new season high. Tyresö plays with six former Umeå players and of course the return of Marta was the day’s topic. “I am not so happy that I did not score today, because I really have thought about what to do. Not celebrating at all or very calm,” Marta told reporters after the game. Anyway, her two assists for Vero and Kirsten van de Ven were decisive. Best on the pitch was Danish defender Röddik Hansen, who scored a marvellous goal that gave Tyresö a 5-0 lead. Tyresö and Malmö seem to be a little light year away from the rest of the league at the moment, winning their matches without bigger problems.

Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC vs Jitex 3-3
Attendance: 840
Göteborg: Jane Törnqvist (Lisa Ek) 77′, Marlene Sjöberg 84′, Christen Press (Mimmi Löfwenius) 87′
Jitex: Annica Sjölund (Sofia Karlsson) 9′, Leena Puranen (Fridolina Rolfö) 39′, Elin Sandgren (Sofia Karlsson) 56′

The derby between the two Göteborg teams had two faces. First, the sensational 3-0 lead for Jitex until 13 minutes from the final whistle, when the vice champions suddenly started to score hunting at least one point and a draw. And two quick goals by Sjöberg and Press (her sixth) gave the equalizer. But Jitex seems to be real strong this season, and we are looking forward to see them in the forthcoming matches against teams more of their class. Jitex could be one of the positive surprises this season. Göteborg can be happy in the end, but they have lost five points in two home matches. Maybe too much to be able to shake Tyresö and Malmö.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

Bundesliga, Matchday 20: Potsdam extends Frankfurt’s barren championship run to four years

By Olaf Goldbecker – From four to two. The 20th matchday proved to be a decisive one for the championship. In a direct comparison, Potsdam cared for kicking their archrivals Frankfurt out of the champion race. The ambitious team from the Maine metropolis is now waiting for a league triumph since 2008 despite of major investments. Also, Duisburg is nearly out of the title race after a loss at Bayern Munich. Only VfL Wolfsburg keeps track with Potsdam. At the bottom, Bayer Leverkusen missed the big chance to get the situation in own control. All three relegation candidates lost.

FF USV Jena v Hamburger SV 0:1 (0:0)
In the only morning game of the matchday, Jena missed the chance to free themselves and put the opponents in the relegation fight under pressure. Carolin Simon decided the game in minute 69. Hamburg now safely stays in the league as long as they don’t withdraw the team.

Turbine Potsdam v 1.FFC Frankfurt 3:1 (2:0)
The traditional German top duel of the two powerhouses was decided by Potsdam once again. Genoveva Anomna seemed to be frozen in the German winter; she never could get close to her performances of the first half season. Yet she found the defrost mode somewhere and scored all three goals for her team in this key matchup. Saskia Bartusiak got her team closer in between.

VfL Wolfsburg v SC Freiburg 3:0 (2:0)
The Wolves from Lower Saxony stay red hot. Conny Pohlers and Zsanett Jakabfi cared for a secure early lead. Nadine Keßler added the final goal with a penalty kick.

SG Essen-Schönebeck v Bayer Leverkusen 4:0 (0:0)
Jena’s loss allowed Bayer to dream of getting closer in the relegation fight, but the young team caught a horrible day and lost, 4-0, in a low-level game. It actually was a typical game for a scoreless draw but disastrous defensive mistakes donated a clear win for Essen, which didn’t have many more scoring opportunities than goals. Linda Dallmann, Caroline Hamann (2) and Katharina Leiding were the scorers, all in the last 30 minutes.

SC Bad Neuenahr v Lokomotive Leipzig 5:0 (1:0)
Celia Okoyino da Mbabi scored the lone goal of the first half. As so often, Leipzig was solid but gave up the goals and then surrendered at the end of the game. Nicole Rolser sealed the deal after an hour before Sarah Gregorius, Okoyino da Mbabi, and Sofia Nati added in the last 10 minutes.

Bayern München v FCR Duisburg 2:0 (0:0)
One week before the cup final, Bayern Munich did something for the self-esteem and defeated a top team. For Duisburg it pretty much means the end of the championship hopes. Lena Lotzen, after 70 minutes and Katharina Baunach with a penalty kick 12 minutes later, were the scorers.

Situation: two games left to play and Potsdam leads the standings one point ahead of Wolfsburg. Duisburg follows four points behind Wolfsburg and only has theoretical chances on the championship. Frankfurt’s only hope to play international next year is to win the Champions League and start as title defender. With six points behind Wolfsburg, they can barely qualify in the domestic league.

Essen is “best of the rest” with 27 pts and in fifth place. Munich (24), Freiburg (23), Bad Neuenahr (22), and Hamburg (22) follow; all are safe and can’t relegate. Jena, with 15, still has to tremble. Relegating right now would be Leipzig (12) and Leverkusen (11).

Next weekend will be off for the cup final between Frankfurt and Munich. The week after will feature no less than three key battles: Wolfsburg hosts Frankfurt, Potsdam travels to Duisburg, so that the top four are meeting directly. At the bottom, Leverkusen hosts Jena and has to win to be able to avoid relegation.

Damallsvenskan Round 4: Göteborg, Malmö continue to rack up goals, Tyresö, Vittsjö, Kristianstad all win

A recap of the fourth gameweek in Sweden’s 2012 Damallsvenskan, also featuring photos from Kristianstad’s 1-0 win over Djurgården.

By Rainer Fussgänger

KIF Örebro vs Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC 0-6
Attendance: 449
Göteborg: Lisa Ek (Christen Press) 13’, Anita Asante 47’, Lisa Ek (Sara Lindén) 52’, Christen Press (Linnéa Liljegärd) 67’, Christen Press (Sara Lindén) 72’, Sara Lindén (Linnéa Liljegärd) 83’
The current season has started like a nightmare for KIF Örebro. After losing the opening match, 7-0, in Tyresö, Göteborg scored six goals at Behrns Arena. Without coach Torbjörn Nilsson, who was still in hospital after being dog bitten a couple of days ago, the Göteborg squad took a severe revenge for their surprising loss to Vittsjö. Christen Press has established herself as one of the leading goalscorers of the league. Missing the Vittsjö game because of joining the USWNT in training camp in Florida, Press has scored five goals in three matches and showed no signs of jetlag. Örebro has to seriously think about how it could happen that the team breaks apart like that in two of four matches. They desperately need SWNT centre back Sara Larsson to return from injury.

Djurgården vs Kristianstad 0-1
Attendance: 485
Kristianstad: Kosovare Asllani 64’

Kristianstad's Katrin Omarsdottir (Photo By Rainer Fußgänger)

If it does not look good for Örebro, it is even worse for Djurgården. Four games, zero points, and only 16 shots on goal. Vittsjö’s Sofie Andersson has 16 shots on goal alone. For Kristianstad, Djurgården was the right team to match, because they came with only one point to Stockholm, but left with four. The only goal was scored by Kosovare Asllani, who left the pitch with stomach cramps 10 minutes before the final whistle. Although not feeling good even before the match, Asllani was a permanent danger for the Djurgården defense.

Kosovare Asllani goes in on goal. (Photo By Rainer Fußgänger)

“If there is one thing I should not be content with it’s that we only scored one goal. We dominated the game during the whole 90 minutes,” coach Elisabet Gunnarsdottir told me while her team celebrated the first victory as if they had won a final. Djurgården would need an injection of two experienced players on their midfield, while waiting for Jessica Landström to come back to Sweden.

Johanna Rasmussen gets through the Djurgården midfield during a 1-0 win for Kristianstad. (Photo By Rainer Fußgänger)

Vittsjö GIK vs Piteå IF 2-1
Attendance: 1,106
Vittsjö: Sofie Andersson (Emma Sjödahl) 18’, Sofie Andersson 44’
Piteå: Jennifer Nobis (Hanna Pettersson) 77’
Sofie Andersson is without a doubt the player of the first four matches in Damallsvenskan. Scoring in every single match, having scored in 19 consecutive matches now if we include Söderettan’s season 2011. After having played for Kristianstad she was not good enough to stay in that roster, went down to division 2 and now comes back stronger than ever. Jennifer Nobis who scored her fourth goal, reducing for Piteå wrote afterwards in her blog that she had expected Vittsjö to be stronger. The match was quite even with Piteå having the better start, but once you give Sofie Andersson an opportunity these days, she will surely score. The 26-year-old is on a winning streak. After four games, Vittsjö has already collected more points than both Hammarby and Dalsjöfors, who were relegated last season.

Jitex BK vs Tyresö FF 1-3
Attendance: 863
Jitex: Elin Sandgren (Leena Puranen) 32’
Tyresö: Madelaine Edlund (Marta) 31’, Madelaine Edlund (Marta) 36’, Kirsten van de Ven 47’
With only 18 minutes played, Tyresö’s Caroline Seger jumped up for a header in her own penalty box and landing bad on her left feet. “I thought that my foot was broken,” she said afterwards. She was immediately transported to a hospital where a sprain of the left foot was diagnosed. As expected it was not an easy game for Tyresö, but Marta gave Madelaine Edlund two assists for her first goals of the season and the individual class of Tyresö finally gave the victory. Coach Stefan Fredriksson gave a special compliment to Marta, who is working hard both attacking and defending.

Linköpings FC vs AIK 0-0
Attendance: 534
After four matches, Linköping seems to have the same problem as last year – scoring goals. Although forwards like Manon Melis and Lisa DeVanna have been added to the roster, Linköping was not able to get in one single goal against AIK, who defended themselves heroically. After 32 minutes, Louise Fors missed a PK for Linköping, wasting the biggest chance of the match. Linköping has definitely to raise themselves before meeting Vittsjö in their next away game.

Tuesday’s match:
LdB FC Malmö vs Umeå IK 7-1
Attendance: 731
Malmö: Anja Mittag (Katrin Schmidt) 21′, Anja Mittag (Lina Nilsson) 29′, Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir (Anja Mittag) 31′, Anja Mittag (Therese Sjögran) 42′, Elin Rubensson 63′, Therese Sjögran (Anja Mittag) 68′, Anja Mittag (Elin Rubensson) 85′
Umeå: Jenny Hjohlman (Tuija Hyyrynen) 66′

There can be little doubt that Marta draws most attention in Damallsvenskan this season. After tonight’s performance, there can also be little doubt that German Anja Mittag is by far the most valuable player of the league so far. Another world class performance with four goals and two assists against Umeå IK by Mittag put her at the top of the scorer’s list with now seven goals and three assists. Umeå was completely outplayed this evening and suffered the highest loss in their history in the first Swedish league. “Maybe 7-1 was a little too much,” Mittag said politely and modest, and Ramona Bachmann who had her best game for Malmö yet, added: “We knew that they would try to play a lot in the midfield and we forced them to make mistakes.” Very busy and successful in winning balls was second German Katrin Schmidt. Mittag and Therese Sjögran seem to have found each other and at least tonight the championship seems to be a battle between first of all Tyresö and Malmö with Göteborg close behind.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.