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FCB season opener

Behringer: 'The level of play surprised me'

Now it's time for FC Bayern's women's team to kick off their league campaign. On Sunday, (14:00 local time), coach Thomas Wörle's side hosts 1. FFC Frankfurt in the season opener of the Allianz women's Bundesliga season. The team will be led by World and European champion Melanie Behringer. The captain already played for Bayern once between 2008 and 2010 before transfering to Frankfurt for four seasons. Now she has returned to Munich.

Ahead of the game against her former team, Behringer spoke with about her return, the new season and the changes in the team. The 28-year-old is one of eleven new players at the club. Ten players also left the team. The chemistry in the team is nevertheless good, explains Behringer, "It feels as though we've all known each other for a long time." That bodes well for the new season: "We're very well prepared for Sunday."

The Interview with Melanie Behringer: Mel, after four years in Frankfurt, how much have things changed at Bayern?
Behringer:  "The team has a completley different face. Only Vanessa Bürki, Carina Wenninger and Viktoria Schnaderbeck are left. Even the training staff is completely new. Thomas Wörle is very ambitious and brought fresh ideas. Everything is very professional. We have a young team with a lot of potential. I was positively surprised how high the level is in training. I didn't expect that. I'm very excited to see where this goes." And how have you changed?
Behringer: "Well, I'm four years Frankfurt I played with some of the best players in Germany. I gained a lot of experience there that I can bring over here." With your experience you've immediately slotted in as a leadership figure here. What was the reason for your return?
Behringer: "Yea, that was one of the reasons for the return. It's nice to be able to have a role like this, a role I didn't have a in Frankfurt. Here I'm the second oldest in the squad and it's a lot of fun to lead this young squad." What else attracted you to coming back to Munich?
Behringer: "I had a really good talk with Thomas Wörle and Karin Danner. The coach gave me a good feeling and convinced me that I needed to come back. Now I'm happy to have taken this step. It's as if I never left." You're not the only newcomer. The whole squad changed a lot. How do you form a successful team after so many changes?
Behringer: "I asked myself the same question at the beginning - and was totally surprised at what I found out. After only a little time we're already gelling very well. It's as though we all know each other already. There are no cliques and the team spirit is high. I've never experienced something like this in a team!" How satisfied are you with your preparation?
"It's going really well. It's a real shame that Lena Lotzen injured herself. We really miss her. Otherwise we had good practice games, against strong opponents like Paris Saint-Germain for example. In those games we could see what we're missing. I' think we're very well prepared for Sunday. How can one characterize your style of play?
Behringer:  "We take initiative on the field! That fits us much more than to react. If we have the ball and control the game we are at our strongest." With what goals are you heading into the season?
Behringer: "Last season Bayern finished fourth, ten points behind third. We want to close the gap further. Personally, I want to win every game. I'm excited to see our whole team come together. We still need a little more time to really reach our best." Aside from Lena Lotzen, you're also missing leonie Maier, Laura Feiersinger, Carina Wenninger and Sarah Romert due to injury. If everyone was fit....
"Then we'd really be in a strong position. Our potential would be even greater. But it's still going to take some time for everyone to return." On Sunday you'll have a reunion with Frankfurt. A good reunion?
Behringer: "I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be very interesting. Frankfurt, like us, have had a lot of turnover. No one knows exactly where they stand. They're clearly the favorites but we have nothing to lose. And like I said, I want to win every game. I also know Frankfurt's perspective and know that they always struggle when the opponents don't give them time to breathe. That's what we need to do on Sunday."

The interview was conducted by Nikolaus Heindl.

Transfers In

Melanie Leupolz (SC Freiburg)
Melanie Behringer (1. FFC Frankfurt)
Caroline Abbe (SC Freiburg)
Mana Iwabuchi (1899 Hoffenheim)
Ricarda Walkling (eigene Jugend)
Jenny Gaugigl (2. Mannschaft)
Vivianne Miedema (SC Heerenveen, NED)
Katie Stengel (Los Angeles Blues, USA)
Amber Brooks (Portland Thorns FC, USA)
Tinja-Riikka Korpela (Tyresö FF, SWE)
Manuela Zinsberger (SV Neulengbach, AUT)

Transfers Out

Nicole Cross (Washington Spirit, USA)
Sarah Hagen (FC Kansas City, USA)
Kathrin Längert (FC Rosengard, SWE)
Clara Schöne (SC Freiburg)
Valeria Kleiner (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Ivana Rudelic (FF USV Jena)
Olivia Schough (FK Rossijanka, RUS)
Rebecca Huyleur (FFC Wacker München)
Franziska Jaser (NC State Women's Soccer, USA)
Veronika Gratz (FFC Wacker München)