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Interview

Lewandowski & Stengel on Bayern's historic title

A week ago, FC Bayern women's team made history. With a win on the final matchday of the 2014/15 Bundesliga season, they clinched the title for the first time in nearly 40 years in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. It was a remarkable achievement not just because of the manner in which they won it or because of the historic significance but also because the squad experienced unprecedented turnover in the off-season.

Speaking to fcbayernmunich.com, Americans Gina Lewandowski, a Bayern veteran from Pennsylvania, and Wake Forest alumni Katie Stengel, who just finished her first year abroad, discussed how the team overcame those challenges early on as well as the upcoming Women's World Cup in Canada this summer.

Lewandowski & Stengel Interview

fcbayernmunich.com: Gina, you've been at Bayern for a few seasons now. Is this the best Bayern team during your time at the club?

Gina Lewandowski: In regards to success, yes. But that is also obvious since we won the league title this season and only got 4th or 5th the last two seasons. This year was special because of the huge change in personnel we had and the expectations of us doing so well in our first year together weren't so high. It has been a goal of ours since I got here, and its rewarding to get there after 3 years already. 

FCB: You mentioned the changes made to the team in the pre-season. How did you overcome the challenges of a new team to go undefeated and win the title?

Gina: We worked a lot on just trying to mesh the team as soon as possible, both on and off the field. Bringing in many different personalities and styles can be challenging. Tom Wörle, our coach, along with all the other coaches did a great job leading and guiding us as a team. We worked hard weekly on trying to find ourselves as soon as possible. The personalities just fit together which allowed things to function smoother and a lot quicker. We also tried to bond as a team and get to know each other off the field which in turn helped our team spirit on the field.

FCB: Katie, unlike Gina, this is your first season abroad and you won the Bundesliga! Was this how you envisioned your first year at Bayern or did it come as a surprise?

Katie Stengel: This has been an incredible first season well beyond my expectations. I certainly expected to be competing at the highest level, but to be a part of such a talented, hard-working team that has been blessed with so much success is fantastic. 

FCB: This is for both of you. What does winning the Bundesliga title mean to you personally, especially in the manner it happened?

Gina: Winning the league is a huge accomplishment and possibly even the biggest goal in one's career. To play consistently over an entire season is an enormous indication on the quality on the team. For me it is extra special because of the large change in personnel this season. We all have worked so hard this season on a collective goal, and it is great to be rewarded for that. I have also seen how hard we have worked the last years leading up to this one, and I am happy for everyone involved and proud to be a part of it. 

Katie: While I have only been playing in the Bundesliga for a year, I understand how special this title is to the club. It shows how hard the coaches, players and staff have worked to create a winning team. We have put in countless hours on and off the field to earn such a title. Holding up that trophy doesn’t just mean we won a few big games or scored a couple goals. It means we went undefeated in questionably the toughest league in the world and showed everyone how great we could be. 

FCB: Let's shift to another big tournament that's right around the corner, the Women's World Cup. How do you both see the U.S. team right now? What about Germany? Predictions?

Gina: I think it will be a challenge for both teams this World Cup, but thats what its all about, competition and excitement! I think both teams are well stacked and have a good chance on going far in the tournament. I am rooting for both teams!

Katie: I am more familiar with the U.S. national team and expect them to perform exceptionally well this World Cup. I’ve had the opportunity to play with and against several of those girls and I know how special they are.  I will definitely be cheering for my home country and wishing them all the best. As for Germany, I think they will also do very well considering the talent on that team. Getting to know a few of their stars this past year makes me realize they are a force to be reckoned with. I am just looking forward to watching some great soccer and hoping my teammates enjoy the tournament! 

Thank you to Gina and Katie for their time and once again congratulations to them and the team on a great season.