The She-Wolves’ training camp on Lake Walchsee has come to an end and their pre-season preparations are drawing to a close. On Sunday 18 August (kick-off 14:00 CEST), last season’s double winners will kick off their FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga campaign with a home match against SC Sand. Here, head coach Stephan Lerch reflects on the last five weeks of pre-season.
Stephan Lerch, the training camp on Lake Walchsee is over. How do you sum up your time there?
Stephan Lerch: “It went very well. The conditions were ideal, as they were in previous years. As for matters on the pitch, I need to pay a big compliment to my team. Every training session was competitive, everyone gave their all and, in the two friendlies, we could see a lot of the things we’ve been trying to implement ahead of the new season.”
You won all five friendlies, including an impressive 3-0 victory against English champions Arsenal Women FC. Pre-season couldn’t really have gone much better…
Lerch: “You need to look at the Arsenal game a little differently, because we were three weeks further in our preparations. I still didn’t expect us to be so dominant and not concede any chances. Overall, we can certainly be very pleased with our pre-season.”
You signed three players last summer, but this year you brought in seven new faces. Are you pleased with how they’ve settled in?
Lerch: “After making a lot of changes to your squad you always need a bit of time to settle. This process is still ongoing, but that’s completely normal. It was important to have all the players together at the training camp, even though Almuth [Schult] and Fridolina [Rolfö] were only able to train by themselves. It’s nice to see the new players being open with one another and eager to learn. They were welcomed with open arms, which has always been the case with us in the last few years. That sets our team apart.”
Would you agree that the squad has better strength in depth now?
Lerch: “Yes, absolutely! On the one hand, we’ve lost two outstanding players and characters in Nilla Fischer and Caroline Hansen, but such is the quality of our new signings that we now have two quality players - if not three - for every position. You can see that in training. Every player wants to prove themselves and stake a claim for a place in the starting line-up. There’s a lot of effort in every session and a great deal of dynamism.”