A look back on a successful and extraordinary 2020 for the She-Wolves.
From winning the league title and the DFB Cup through to lockdown and restart, via the UEFA Women’s Champions League finals tournament, the new season, notable departures and big signings, 2020 was an unforgettable year for VfL Wolfsburg Women. In addition to major successes, the year also brought unprecedented challenges which the She-Wolves conquered both in the last season and in the current campaign. We review the past 12 months for the VfL ladies:
Algarve sun in January
The VfL Women headed to a training camp in Portugal, where they played two friendlies: a 1-1 draw with FC Twente and a 5-0 win over league rivals 1. FFC Frankfurt.
Superb competitive start in February
Stephan Lerch’s side overcame Hoffenheim 5-2 away in their first FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga game after the winter break, and followed that up with a 5-1 triumph over 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam. On 29 February, the She-Wolves began laying the foundations for the following season with the signing of Pauline Bremer from Manchester City.
All change in March and April
Following a 6-0 victory over an FF USV Jena side that would eventually be relegated, match operations were put on hold until 30 April due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UWCL quarter-final tie against Glasgow City was also postponed. VfL returned to the training pitch in small groups in mid-April, in accordance with strict hygiene regulations. There were three pieces of good news at the end of the month: Alexandra Popp and Ewa Pajor extended their contracts until 2023, and the DFB sought to resume match operations.
Restart in May
On 20 May, government officials gave the green light for matches to resume, with VfL defeating 1. FC Köln 4-0 in their first game back. Equally pleasing was the news that Sara Doorsoun had extended her contract until 2023, and that PSG goalkeeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek would join the club ahead of the new season.
Title triumph in June
The She-Wolves had a packed schedule after the restart, with seven games across June. Following a goalless draw in Munich, VfL sealed their sixth league title – and fourth in succession – with a 5-0 thumping of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Pernille Harder was also crowned as the league’s top scorer with 27 goals, while the Green-and-Whites confirmed another transfer with the signing of talented youngster Lena Oberdorf from Essen. Sara Gunnarsdottir and Kristine Minde both left the club, however.
Cup thriller in July
Wolfsburg Women won the DFB Cup for a sixth successive year following victory in a sensational final in which they just managed to overcome SGS Essen 4-2 on penalties, after the game had ended 3-3 after extra time. Friederike Abt emerged as the match-winner, saving two spot-kicks in the shootout to help earn her side the silverware. After the title-winning celebrations there were some farewells, with Jana Burmeister, Hedvig Lindahl, Noelle Maritz and Claudia Neto all departing the She-Wolves. There was little time for the players to catch their breath, with preparations for the UWCL finals tournament in Spain kicking off on 28 July.
Continental finalists in August
The VfL ladies booked their place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final after brushing aside Glasgow City 9-1 in the quarter-finals and beating Barcelona 1-0 in the last four. However, they finished as runners-up following a 3-1 defeat to Olympique Lyon, while head coach Stephan Lerch later confirmed he would not extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.
Fresh start in September
The month began with a shockwave for all Green-and-Whites, as Harder, who had just been named as the Player of the Year in Germany, left the club. On top of that, Doorsoun and Pajor were sidelined with long-term injuries. The She-Wolves won their first game of the season 3-0 against Essen in a match where spectators were allowed back for the first time, before defeating Hoffenheim 4-1. Joelle Wedemeyer extended her contract at VfL until 2022, Karina Saevik and Shanice van de Sanden both arrived, and Joelle Smits and coach Tommy Stroot agreed to join next season.
VfL posted 4-0 wins against both Leverkusen and SC Sand, but new signing Pauline Bremer sustained a cruciate ligament injury in the latter game and will be sidelined for a lengthy period. There was more disappointment away to Freiburg, where the team conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw and dropped two important points. On top of that, captain Popp suffered a foot injury that ruled her out of action for several weeks.
There were two big games in succession for the She-Wolves, who beat Potsdam 5-0 before slipping to a frustrating 4-1 defeat against Bayern that left the side second in the table, five points behind the leaders. Rebecka Blomqvist and Sofie Svava signed deals to join VfL after the winter break.
Winning streak in December
A 3-1 win over MSV Duisburg booked VfL’s place in the DFB Cup quarter-finals, while the team also eased into the last 16 of the UWCL thanks a 7-0 aggregate victory over ZFK Spartak Subotica. The Green-and-Whites closed out a turbulent year with a 2-0 win away to SGS Essen.