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Leupolz & Co. ahead of “big matchup” against Twente

FC Bayern women’s coach Thomas Wörle didn’t want to show it, but the stress of traveling after four straight games on the road has “left its marks,” said the Bayern women’s coach. The tiredness hasn’t done much to the anticipation ahead of this season’s highlight so far, as the Champions League returns this Wednesday at 7 pm CET to the Grünwalder Stadion where the FC Bayern women take on FC Twente.

“A game under the flood lights, the anthem, plenty of hair-raising moments – it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Melanie Leupolz ahead of the return leg of the Round of 16. Bayern’s starting point is favorable after their 1-1 away draw in the first leg, with a goalless draw enough to see them through to the next round. “Reacting isn’t our strongest point. We want to play more offense and score goals,” assured Leupolz.

The Bavarians have learned their lessons from the previous matchup. “Twente has good players and is extremely dangerous on the counter attack,” said Leupolz, who scored a late equalizer for the Bayern women in the first leg. “They can also make do on physicality alone. We’ll have to stay close,  compact, and help each other.”

Five players out, two questionable

“In the Bundesliga, Twente would play for a spot in the top four,” said Thomas Wörle. “This is a draw you’d expect in the quarterfinals of the Champions League – it’s a big task.” The Bayern women’s coach is, however, optimistic heading into the “final for the next round”: “I’m sure we’ll make it.”

Wörle will have to make some changes to the lineup. Lena Lotzen, who underwent knee surgery; Katharina Baunach; Sarah Romert; Veronica Boquete; and Mana Iwabuchi will be out. Caroline Abbé is questionable: “She won’t be quite there yet,” said Wörle, who is hoping for Melanie Behringer: “I don’t know if she can play, but she can bite.”

Germany international Melanie Leupolz, however, is back and in good shape, and is hoping to count on the support of the fans. “There were lots of Bayern fans in Enschede, the atmosphere was great,” said the 21-year-old. “It would be really great if we get that support again tomorrow.” Wörle is also looking forward to the trip to the Grünwalder Stadion: “Things feel very differently in the Champions League. It’ll be very exciting, a big matchup!”