ayServus (Bavarian greeting for hello)!
Since my last post, our season has gotten off to a good start! In our first game, we tied the Treble winners, Wolfsburg, 1-1 at their place and with a little luck could have come away with the full three points. And in our home opener at the renovated, historic, Grünwald Stadion, we beat a feisty Freiburg team 2-1. Both of those games were televised on Eurosport and streamed online so I was happy that my family and friends back in the USA could watch me play. My mom even flew over for our Freiburg game and it was extra special to score the game-winning goal with her in the stands. I’m thinking she’s a good luck charm, because in the four games she’s attended, we are 3-0-1 and I have scored two goals! After our first two Bundesliga games, we are currently finishing a two week “pause” with no official league games due to FIFA dates. We have been short in numbers during our trainings because we have eight players busy with their respective national teams (Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany). The past two weeks have been hard and intense for the remaining group, but the highlight was the Americans vs. Germans 6vs6 game (of course, the Ami’s prevailed!) With Erika and Bianca on loan from FC Kansas City for first half of the season, it has been nice to have two more American friends, especially since I have played with them on the US Youth National Teams in the past.
This weekend we play our first DFB Pokal (German Cup) game against second-division Crailsheim. The DFB Pokal is the primary national women’s competition in Germany and all clubs from the 2nd and 1st division of the Bundesliga make up the competition. As one of the best finishers from last season, we did not have to compete in the first round, but now we start in the round of 32. Unlike the season, which spans over nine months, the Pokal features single elimination games, so if you lose, you’re out. Each round, the matchups are completely chosen at random, so it’s any guess which opposing team you could face. Bayern won the Pokal in 2012 and last year we lost in overtime of the semifinals. This Sunday is our first step toward getting back to the final at the electric Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne next May.
After our first Pokal game this Sunday, we have a quick turnaround with our third Bundesliga game away at Essen on Thursday and then another game against Cloppenburg at home that Sunday. The Germans refer to the rare three games in one week as an “English” week, and they always prove strenuous on our bodies. With our national team players trickling in from their UEFA World Cup Qualifying group matches and the hard work the rest of us have put in the last couple of weeks and the entire preseason, we are prepared for the challenge and look forward to adding to our league point tally!
Amber Brooks is a 22-year-old midfielder currently playing for Bayern Munich in Germany. She was drafted in the fourth round of the NWSL draft by the Portland Thorns. You can follow her on Twitter or follow her blog.