Champions! FCB Women celebrate title triumph
The players had been dancing, shouting and even screaming with joy, but barely ten minutes after captain Melanie Behringer had hoisted the championship shield to the Munich skies with silver confetti raining down around her, silence fell on the home dressing room. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge personally congratulated the new German champions, announced a substantial win bonus and repeated his invitation for the FCB Women to join their male counterparts on the Town Hall balcony on Sunday 24 May.
"I hope the balcony is strong enough to take it," Rummenigge chuckled in front of the press shortly afterwards, as the players cheered, carrying the shield aloft and chasing around the areas under the stands at the Grünwalder Station. "This is historic and a first: both lads and ladies won the championship title." And that has to be celebrated.
Four minutes of worried waiting
The Munich Women had an anxious wait for news from Frankfurt until they could finally celebrate. The Bavarians won their home match against Essen with goals from Melanie Leupolz (5) and Vivianne Miedema (30), but the match between FFC and VfL Wolfsburg was still in progress with the game poised at 1-1. One goal for Wolfsburg would have spoiled the triumph for Munich.
"All of us had the images from Schalke in mind," coach Thomas Wörle said later, recalling the scenes from May 2001 when FCB became last-minute champions. But after almost four minutes of worried waiting it was official: the FC Bayern Women are German champions for the first time since 1976! "It's incredible. A dream has come true," manager Karin Danner cheered, "the Bavarian God has rewarded us for all the years of hard work."
Unbeaten through the season
17 wins, five draws, no defeats, 56 goals scored and only seven conceded -- that is the champions' fantastic record. "They did brilliantly, not a single defeat. We have to pay them a huge compliment," said Rummenigge. Wörle summarised: "The team did outstandingly well. We were up against teams with stronger players. We only had one recipe: teamwork. I'm super proud."
Even the runners-up spot and the corresponding Champions League qualification would have been a fantastic success for the FCB Women. That they ultimately became table-toppers was "just about the limit," said Wörle. The 33-year-old confessed to "never-ending happiness," welcoming Rummenigge's visit to the locker room as "the icing on the cake. I really liked that. It was very special."
Long party night for the champions
However, it remains to be seen whether the new champions can take up the invitation to the balcony in two weeks. "Unfortunately, many of our players will have left. The World Cup is about to start," explained Wörle, still hoping "that we'll manage somehow with as many as possible present."
The celebration at the Grünwalder Stadion on Sunday was certainly worthy of champions: the Munich women copiously toasted their title coup. "Today there will be wild celebrations -- and that's as it ought to be," Wörle announced. Melanie Behringer set the agenda for a long party night: "It's open-ended!"