This season for Bayern Munich Frauen is almost indescribable, but I am going to try my best to put it into words. Through all doubt, the team managed the unbelievable. They went undefeated, trailed behind Wolfsburg for most of the season, and somehow managed to win the league on the very last day. That is the story that we all know now, and rightly so. For the first time since the 1970s, the team won the championship. To be honest, I was nowhere close to being born the last time they won the league.
One thing that struck me at the beginning of this season was how much the men's team dwarfed the women's in terms of expectations. Of course the men's team is the bigger squad, but in terms of how people view the season it was incredibly different. The men's team was expected this year to compete for the league (which they won in awesome fashion) and the women's team was simply supposed to compete and be in the top four. In my season preview, I predicted that they would finish second in a Champions League spot. No doubt, many around the team talked about a Champions League spot as a possibility, but almost no one predicted that the team would win the league this season. But predictions are just that, predictions. The team this year exceeded all expectations and played a great style throughout the season. What makes this all the more incredible is how the team has set up a squad with its roster and culture that is destined for even greater things. This team achieved the first league championship in decades, but next years team could possibly achieve something even greater.
Winning the league was not just the team "stepping up". This season saw a lot of change for the squad with seven players leaving the squad and a handful of new players coming in, including Melanie Behringer, who was coming back to the club after a few years at Frankfurt. Bayern retooled the club and no doubt had to take the time to get used to each other. Early on before the season, many interviews with players and especially the veterans talked about the team gelling and getting used to each other. Hearing the optimism from the players was a good sign with the team facing Frankfurt and Wolfsburg in the first four weeks of the season.
Once the season started, things rolled quickly. The first big test came on the first day of the season, with a home match against Frankfurt that ended in a 1-1 draw. The start was promising and the team played well from the beginning. And went on to win their next two games. At the end of September, the girls faced a tough test on the road against defending champions Wolfsburg. Just like the game against Frankfurt, the game ended in a draw but felt like a massive victory for the team.
The excitement for the team built after the Wolfsburg draw. Over their next six games they outscored their opponents 26 to 2 in an absolutely dominating fashion. During this team the squad took over the top spot in the league and briefly held off Wolfsburg each week before finally losing this lead shortly before Christmas.
While December may have not ended on the best note, January saw plenty of happy times for the team. During the winter break Bayern escaped to sunny Florida for two friendlies. The team took plenty of videos and took in the sunshine. Throughout all of the videos one thing was clear; that this team was 100% a team and absolutely loving playing with each other. That enjoyment was going to be needed for a title push that absolutely seemed possible at this point.
The second half of season kicked off in February with a match against Hoffenheim that saw a 2-1 Bayern win. All attention was not turned towards what was then the biggest match of the season, a match against Wolfsburg. The match had everything on the line. If either side won, they would no doubt take control of the league. The game was even streamed online, which was difficult but worth it for residents of the Pacific Northwest. Throughout the 90 minutes the game was tense, with both teams playing great defense any time the other team go close. Although it ended in a 0-0 draw, Bayern's defense had to stand on its heads in the last five minutes to keep the score. Just like in September, a draw was absolutely a win.
After the Wolfsburg game it seemed as though Bayern was trapped in a game of follow the leader. Any time Bayern won, Wolfsburg won. Any time Bayern drew, Wolfsburg drew. Any time Bayern lost, you woke up from the dream because Bayern lost zero Bundesliga games this season! Regardless, Bayern never seemed able to gain ground on Wolfsburg even as March turned into April. With three weeks to go in the season, it seemed as though the title was going to the wolves and Bayern was going to qualify for the Champions League. As you all know by now, it came down to the last match. There were several possible outcomes, but for Bayern to win the league they needed some help from Frankfurt.
Early on during the final matchday, Frankfurt took a lead over Wolfsburg which gave Bayern considerable hope. Simply win, and you win the league. Bayern easily won their match 2-0 and had it wrapped up early on, but the situation became harder when Wolfsburg equalized their game. Bayern had to wait for the result after their match, and the two minutes felt like forever watching the players shake hands and thoughtfully pace around each other, waiting to hear the final result. When the word finally came, Bayern was champions and it was party time in Munich.
This season was a busy year for the Bavarians and having it end in a championship is the sweetest ending of all. Bayern won the league for the first time since the 1970s and this year was clearly the start of something new. Remarkable to the success is all of the new signings the team has made to prepare for the future. They brought it Icelandic international Dagný Brynjarsdóttir as well as Scottish international Lisa Evans. Just recently, the team announced the signing of Veronica Boquete. No doubt, Bayern's championship may have been a surprise this season, but they will not surprise anyone next year. The team brought in a bundle of new players who handled their growing pains with ease to win a championship. Now, they're bringing in even more veteran, skilled, and talented players to the squad to make a push next season. Could they win the Bundesliga again and possibly win the Champions League? With this team, anything is possible because it is a new day for women's soccer in Munich.