Bayern Munich midfielder Sarah Zadrazil played college soccer in the United States before heading to Germany to start her professional career. Zadrazil first played for Turbine Potsdam, before ultimately moving to Bayern Munich in 2020.
Zadrazil recently sat down with BFW for an interview and blew us away with energy and great mindset.
It can safely be assumed that most young Austrians do not have moving to Johnson City, Tennessee as part of their immediate dreams.
That is no slight to Johnson City, but the home of East Tennessee State University and Austria are essentially half a world away.
For Bayern Munich Frauen midfielder Sarah Zadrazil, however, it was the perfect destination to help her achieve her goals.
“It was super exciting for me. It was a big step. I was young. It was my first time being away from home. When I got there, I was like, ‘Okay, what am I doing here?’ It was crazy, but I really enjoyed my time there. I made great friends and made great experiences. I really like the college lifestyle in general. I graduated and stayed all four years, so it was a really cool experience,” said Zadrazil.
For Zadrazil, who spent most of her young footballing career focused on technical skills, her college career opened her eyes to how much speed and strength training could impact her play on the pitch.
“I think the biggest difference was the physical work compared in Austria. I was never in the weight room, because when we were younger, I never had the opportunity to do that. When I got to East Tennessee State, and we have a weight session the first time, I was like ‘Wow, what’s going on? I’ve never seen any of this.’ I think I just improved a lot on the physical point which helped me for my career after college,” Zadrazil said.
The American style of play — which is evolving, but still rugged in many parts of the country — also helped Zadrazil embrace a more physical approach, which is something that has served her well (just ask some of the Paris Saint-Germain players who squared off with Zadrazil in The Women’s Cup earlier this week).
“I would say that the biggest difference in football is that it is just super physical, a lot of kick and rush, and working hard. In Germany now, it’s a more tactical and technical style of football. It’s cool if you can combine both and I think it helped me a lot,” Zadrazil said.
The Austrian star has melded a technical base with a physical edge to perfection. That combination of attributes made her an attractive player to Bayern Munich.
“I knew when coming to Bayern that they have an amazing squad with so much individual quality. Obviously, I didn’t come to the team expecting to start or to have a role because there’s so many great players here. My first season just went amazing for me personally, but also for the team. There wasn’t any pressure. I just knew I’m going to a big club with big names and great players, and I just wanted to be part of it,” Zadrazil said. “I wanted to get better day-by-day practicing at the highest level possible. Over the season, I improved a lot, and I’m glad that I can be part of such an amazing team.”
Zadrazil gained some notoriety last season for her stunning Champions League goal against Chelsea. The Austrian certainly caught the attention of a lot of people.
“I still don’t even know how that happened. Usually, it just skies up, but it went in. It was an amazing moment for me, and I think for the team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to reach the final. It was my first Champions League season. That is very cool,” Zadrazil said. “It’s a great moment. I will take it with me, but I don’t think that a lot changed from it. We didn’t make the final. I would have preferred not to score and play in the final to be honest. But, yeah, it was a cool moment, and hopefully I can do it again one day.”
One benefit in moving to Bayern Munich is that Zadrazil is constantly surrounded by great talent. Being in that environment every day is a huge boost and when asked if there was anyone on the team who she has been able to glean anything from, Zadrazil said the entire squad has a lot to offer.
“I have to say there’s not one particular player; it’s just our team atmosphere. I came to Bayern and they made it super easy to be a part of the group. We have such close connections. It’s not like we have small groups in the team. We are just one big family, and I know it sounds cliché, but it’s kind of how it is. We all support each other,” Zadrazil stated. “I was really impressed with that atmosphere and with the energy on the field. Obviously, we have some players who are technically insane like Linda Dallmann, for example. I wish I could do what she does on the ball. We have some people in front of goal who score every opportunity they get like Lea Schüller and Jovi Damnjanovic. There are so many great individual players, but what stands out for me is more the group and how we act with each other and how we improve and develop together.”
That family atmosphere and overall talent base has Zadrazil thinking that big things are possible during this campaign.
“I think we saw last season that it’s super close now in Europe, and we have some quality teams. You have to have some quality, and you have to have a good day, and everything has to be right to reach the (Champions League) final. It’s definitely possible, but it’s also super hard. I think all the teams have improved,” Zadrazil said. “For us, it’s Bayern Munich obviously — we always want to win titles. I think that’s our main goal, but it’s not realistic to say, ‘Okay, we want to win three titles. That’s definitely what we’re going to do.’ So, we just have to take it day-by-day, improve and develop, and if everything works out the way we want it to work out, I’m pretty sure we can go all the way. But, we’ll see.”
Stay tuned for more FC Bayern Munich Frauen coverage this week. On Saturday our talk with Lina Magull will be featured.