For the past fortnight, preparations have been underway on Elsterweg for the challenges that await in the latter half of the season. With a number of players released for duty with their respective national teams of late, the VfL women’s squad had been notably decimated, but the double-winners from last season are now finally back together: On Tuesday evening, the Lady-Wolves make their way to Hamburg, from where they will fly out to Portugal on Wednesday morning. The players will arrive on the Algarve from all possible directions, before gathering on the pitch for the first session of the winter training-camp in Wednesday afternoon.
Coach on location
"We are looking forward to an intensive time. In Portugal we will have the best possible conditions for us to concentrate and prepare for our ambitious programme during the second half of the campaign," explained coach Stephan Lerch, who has been on location in Portugal with his trainer-team since Monday.
All-clear for Hansen
The crew, that will be available to Lerch over the ten-day stay in Faro, contains a total of 27 players – although not all of them will be available from day one. Due to muscular problems, Ewa Pajor will join the team later, as will Meret Wittje and Anna-Lena Stolze, who are currently on duty with the German U19 selection. There was some positive news concerning Caroline Hansen, who was forced to depart from the Norwegian national team ahead of schedule with a knee problem. "The MRI scan revealed that there was no ligament damage, merely a strain to the knee," explained Lerch, who can call upon Katharina Baunach and Merle Frohms in the training-camp, as well as goalkeeper Melina Loeck, who is the second Under 23 player nominated alongside Stolze.
Huelva, Cloppenburg, Hoffenheim
The Lady-Wolves will be put to the test whilst in Portugal by Spanish first division side Sporting Huelva on Wednesday, January 31st (kick-off 16:00 CET local-time). The Green-Whites first competitive match in 2018 will be the re-scheduled DFB-Cup ‘Round of 16’ clash with BV Cloppenburg on Sunday, February 11th (14:00 CET). One week later, action in the Bundesliga begins again with a trip to TSG Hoffenheim (17:00 CET, live on Sport 1, Telekom Sport and DFB-TV).