VfL Wolfsburg Women have started pre-season training.
The She-Wolves are back training just 24 days after beating SGS Essen on penalties in the DFB Cup final. After what proved to be a short summer break, the double-winners had their first session together as they prepare for the UWCL finals tournament in Spain that will get under way on 21 August. Two weeks later, they will start their title defence of the FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga with a home match against Essen on 4 September. VfL head coach Stephan Lerch had a virtually full squad of 22 players to work with at the Elsterweg training ground. Almuth Schult, who recently gave birth to twins, was the only absentee as she is training on her own. It was a first run-out for a number of recent signings, namely Pauline Bremer, Kathrin Hendrich, Katarzyna Kiedrzynek, Lena Oberdorf and youth goalkeeper Julia Kassen, and they along with their team-mates got to try out the new grey training kit.
Negative test results
The first session of the 2020/21 season lasted around 75 minutes and was preceded by a few words from sporting director Ralf Kellermann and VfL managing director Dr Tim Schumacher. Lerch and his coaching staff kicked things off with a lot of ball work – to the delight of the players who were clearly happy to be back on the pitch. The same applied to the fans and members of the media, who are now allowed back at Elsterweg after the post-pandemic training sessions last season had been behind closed doors. The team and backroom staff continue to observe strict hygiene rules, with two COVID-19 tests carried out on everyone involved before training started up again. All tests came back negative.
“Make the best of the situation”
The circumstances dictated by the pandemic will also have an effect on the rest of pre-season. To date there is only one friendly in the calendar, to be played against an as-yet-unnamed Bundesliga opponent at the end of the brief training camp in Harsewinkel (14 August/kick-off time to follow). The need for both teams to be tested regularly will limit the number of potential opponents, meaning that other friendlies may or may not be organised. Lerch is taking a pragmatic approach to the situation. “We showed during the enforced break that we can deal with unusual circumstances in a professional manner and we’ll continue to make the best of the situation,” the coach said. “I’m totally confident that we’ll be fully prepared by the time we fly out to Spain!”