The Bayern Munich women’s team played in the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal at home to FC Barcelona on Sunday evening.
It was the first time in the history of the Bavarian club’s female team, that they have reached a European semifinal.
Their Catalan opponents do not have a much more impressive history on the continent, but Barca has profited immensely from the women’s soccer boom that has reached Spain in recent years. The sport has become far more professional there lately, with La Liga clubs investing more and more money into it.
As teams in Spain, France and England have soared, those in Germany have stagnated, this development was very much on display during Sunday’s match.
The game took place at the newly built FC Bayern Campus, where the home club’s various male youth teams also train and play. But it was the visitors who were the far superior team throughout.
The away side’s possession-orientated, attacking style of play did not allow the Bavarians to establish their own rhythm, at practically any point in the encounter.
Bayern Munich coach Thomas Wörle had a number of surprise selections in his starting eleven, the biggest of them was Laura Benkarth in goal. It was only her second game for the team since having joined the club in the summer, after overcoming an ACL injury she obtained last season with SC Freiburg.
But Benkarth was not the problem in this match. Barcelona was simply too technically gifted and too dominant in midfield.
Despite the fact that the home team missed some half chances, mostly toward the end of each half, they were very fortunate to only lose the game 1-0 on a goal by French international Kheira Hamraoui just after the hour mark.
It is difficult to imagine Bayern Munich winning next Sunday afternoon in Barcelona and thus advancing to the final, but one can only hope…