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FCB Frauen end Hinrunde on a bitter note, youth player Hartig stands out in U-17 Euro Final

Two gifted goals negated what would have been an important victory going into the winter break, and now Thomas Wörle's team must regroup to have any chance at the title. Meanwhile, Germany's women conquered Europe in no small part due to Bayern's Isabella Hartig.

Dennis Grombkowski

On what was an otherwise banner day for women's football in Germany and for the Bayern women's system, the senior team ended the first half of the season just as they couldn't have afforded to.

The U-17 Women's European Championships Final was contested between Germany and Spain and ended with the (insert cliche here) Germans winning on penalties to take home the title. On the team are Bayern youth players Ricarda Walkling, Isabella Hartig, Michaela Specht.

Hartig, a substitute, scored the equalizing goal just 4 minutes from time to put the first goal past the Spaniards in over 300 minutes of play throughout the tournament.

She also scored the winning penalty in the resulting shootout to secure Germany's fourth title of the sort.

Her club's senior team didn't fare as well, and may have seen their chances at a trophy decrease by a decent margin.

After a disastrous home loss to FCR 2001 Duisburg a week ago, Bayern set out to get an important win for the standings and also for the morale of the team away to 1899 Hoffenheim.

Things started out brilliantly, with a Viktoria Schnaderbeck long-range curling shot in the 14th minute that put them into the lead.

Only eight minutes later, Katharina Baunach took a free kick from nearly the same position on the field, a yard or two behind the arch above the penalty area, and her left-footed try swerved around the wall and beat the goalkeeper for the 2-0 in the 22nd minute.

In the 36th minute, the Reds fell victim to a training ground effort on a Hoffenheim setpiece that had Theresa Betz sneak in behind the defense and volley a chipped pass home to slice the deficit in half. It was a great goal, make no mistake, but one that wouldn't have happened had she been properly marked.

The match's bitter ending came in added time when a corner was allowed to skip across the penalty are at ground-level, where Hoffenheim's Christine Schneider turned it in to tie the game at 2-2.

Bayern, having left 5 points on the table in one calendar week, now sit in fourth place on 18 points, 8 back of pace-setters 1. FFC Frankfurt, who beat second place Potsdam 3-0 this week to increase their lead atop the table.

In other team-related news, Carina Wenninger has a torn ligament and will undergo surgery soon, adding to the mounting list of injuries the team has sustained thus far to key players, including Lena Lotzen and Gina Lewandowski.

Also of note, American duo Erika Tymrak and Bianca Henninger return to their home club, FC Kansas City.

Bayern picked up Norwegian national team player Nora Holstad to sure up the defense and Swedish attacker Olivia Schough, both of whom are set to join the squad come the first of the year.

The team's next match isn't until late February, where they'll have to run the gauntlet of Potsdam and Wolfsburg in their first two matches back, both of which they'll probably have to win to have a shot at the title.