Created on 2016-01-02 at 10:00 AM
A twelve-point lead! Not even Melanie Leupolz would have predicated that. "I never could have imagined that we'd be so dominant in the first half of the season," the German national team midfielder said in an exclusive interview with fcbayernmunich.com.
The FC Bayern women's team are unbeaten in their last 35 league matches and are currently in the DFB Cup semifinals. Leupolz talked about how they have achieved such an impressive run of form, overcoming her own setbacks and goals for the 21-year-old German international and midfield maestro.
The Interview with Melanie Leupolz
FCB: Hey, Melanie! We want to start by wishing you a happy new year and ask you right off the bat about your goals and resolutions for 2016.
Leupolz: (laughs) "Good question. In any case I want to work on my finishing and develop further in general. Otherwise I haven't really thought about any concrete resolutions."
FCB: Well there isn't much room for improvement. You and the team have an incredible 12-point lead in the league!
Leupolz: "Honestly? I never imagined that we'd play so dominantly the entire first half of the season. Every team dropped points, but we were very consistent and gave 100 percent every game. Everyone is hungry for wins and titles."
FCB: The chances for an effective title defense are very good then...
Leupolz: "Of course we gave ourselves a nice advantage with this lead. But no one is talking about the title. We have to prove ourselves all over again in the second half of the season and not take our lead for granted."
FCB: Similarly, things are going according to plan in the DFB Cup as well where you'll face surprise team SC Sand in the semifinals. How did you follow the draw?
Leupolz: "We have a team chat on WhatsApp where we immediately exchanged reactions. We're looking forward to the semifinal. Of course we'd rather have a home game but Sand is an attractive draw. They're playing an impressive season so far."
FCB: The Champions League didn't quite work out the same. What are your thoughts on the early exit?
Leupolz: "We expected more. When you go out so early as German champions it's never really optimal. We didn't score enough in both games and we were pretty upset after the elimination but we didn't let that get us down. Quite the opposite, it only motivated us more to collect as many points as possible in the Bundesliga and go far in the Cup."
FCB: In your first season you already won the title. How surprising was this quick success for you?
Leupolz: "Extremely surprising! I came to FC Bayern because I knew that great work was being done here by the team and the coach. But I certainly didn't expect to compete for the title in my first season with the club. That made me all the more exctatic when we ended up winning it."
FCB: And you certainly celebrated in proper style - at Marienplatz with the men's team. How did that feel?
Leupolz: "That was really cool. Especially that a women's and men's player were paired up each to come out on the balcony. It was a great example how serious FC Bayern is about women's soccer. We appreciated the gesture and are proud to be a part of the Bayern family. When everyone gets to pitch in with some success, even better."
FCB: In which areas have you improved since joining FC Bayern?
Leupolz: “Certainly in terms of character. Moving to another city, joining another team. In terms of football I've made progress too. We have very high standards in training. This is due to the coach, but also the players, who want to improve every day. And there's fierce competition, nobody can rest on their laurels. Moving to Munich was exactly the right thing to do.”
FCB: You played in boys' teams up to the U-15s. What impact did that have on you?
Leupolz: “It wasn't always easy. Particularly with the U-15s it gets more difficult because the boys make a big physical leap. But it helps your development. You learn to make quick decisions and fight. My advice to all female players is to play with the boys for as long as possible. By the way, we still play together sometimes.”
FCB: You're only 21, but nonetheless you've already seen and done quite a lot. Would you say you're an experienced player, or rather an up-and-coming talent?
Leupolz: “The former. As a defensive midfielder you have lots of responsibility. You have to mature quickly because you have to lead a team in a position like this. That's why I try to learn as much as possible from what I experience.”
'I want to win many more titles'
FCB: You'll take up marketing studies soon. How can you combine that with professional sports?
Leupolz: “Fortunately I'm flexible in terms of my learning schedule, so I see no problems. School has always been easy for me. I'm ambitious and want to get good grades. I revise on my way to training. Then I give everything in the sessions. Football gives me so much! It's a distraction from stress at school.”
FCB: What do you do when you aren't at school or uni or on the pitch?
Leupolz: “Usually I don't have that much time (laughs). Sometimes I like to take it easy, and I relax on the sofa. But I also like to spend time in the kitchen and bake cakes for the team. In the winter I like snowboarding. And in summer I sometimes ride a motorbike and go on a trip, for example with my dad.”
FCB: European champion 2013. Algarve Cup winner 2014. German champion 2015. What will come in 2016?
Leupolz: (thinks) “There are many titles. The German championship would be outstanding! But we're not dreaming of that yet. We're in the race for the cup, so two trophies would be great (smiles)... and then there's Rio in the summer. A huge event! I'd be very pleased to be part of the German sporting family at the Olympic village.”