It's the same as always: VfL Wolfsburg celebrates, the opponents don't stand a chance. At least that's how it seems when you look at women's football in Germany. The team wins its eighth DFB Cup in a row. That doesn't bode well for the league.
Almuth Schult celebrated exuberantly. There was a beer at the press conference after her last game for VfL Wolfsburg, and the 31-year-old, who is moving to Angel City FC in the USA, toasted her teammates with schnapps while they were still on the pitch. Thanks to a 4-0 victory, the team from Lower Saxony had just won the DFB Cup against Turbine Potsdam.
Schult didn't score a goal, no wonder, after all, as a goalkeeper, she is responsible for preventing goals. She tried everything though. Shortly before the end, she suddenly appeared in the opponent's penalty area at a corner. Just like goalkeepers sometimes do when their team is just behind or is still chasing the winning goal. Wolfsburg were already leading 4-0 after goals from Ewa Pajor (11'/33'), Jill Roord (43') and Dominique Janssen (70').
"We fooled around a bit in training in the last few weeks, I played as a field player and even scored a strange side-kick goal," explained Schult afterwards. "We thought it would be nice to score another goal for Wolfsburg in one game, but the timing wasn't right." The accusation of disrespect came to the woman who did not receive a yellow card throughout the season - oh what, her entire Bundesliga career. Only in the preseason did she get the red card in the DFB Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt, her only one ever. This means that Schult is otherwise not known for unfairness, provocation or disrespect. But this scene angered Potsdam coach Sofian Chahed: "It shows respect that you just stay in goal." Schult immediately apologized: "I'm sorry if Potsdam got it wrong. It was the emotions of the last game."
She had emotions and also the time and ease on her side. The superiority of their team was clear. Potsdam played with commitment, especially in the first half, and also tried their hand at goal. But in the end they had no chance against the double winners from Wolfsburg. They were safe at the back - and were ice cold at the gate. "It was David versus Goliath," Chahed stated. The former Hertha and Hannover professional, who took over from Potsdam before the season, said: "When I see who was on the bench at Wolfsburg or who wasn't in the squad - we would have kissed all of these players." His opponent Tommy Stroot, for example, could only afford to substitute national team captain Alexandra Popp after an hour.
This change alone, it manifests the danger that the dominance of VfL Wolfsburg brings with it. The team won the DFB Cup for the eighth time in a row. In the league, he was denied championships only in the previous season and before that, most recently in the 2015/16 season, both times by FC Bayern. The Munich women were the only ones who were dangerous to them for a long time this season.
The gap is similar to that in the men's Bundesliga, where nobody can match FC Bayern. "The gap is just too big," said former national player Nia Künzer as an ARD expert. There is no competition nationally, but internationally it was not enough for the ultimate flights of fancy. For VfL it was over in the Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona, especially the first leg in the sold-out Camp Nou ended bitterly: with a 1: 5 swatter for Stroot's team.
The national dominance will probably not break even after Schult's departure. Schult's competitor for the regular place at the European Championships in England in July, Merle Frohms, moves from Frankfurt to Lower Saxony, top talent Jule Brand comes from TSG Hoffenheim, Marina Hegering brings her experience from Bavaria with her and Saturday's opponent in the final also loses a regular player to the Wolves: Captain and defender Sara Agrez. Still playing for Potsdam, the Slovenian didn't like the dominance of her future employer at all: "We're all very disappointed. I have to say that I didn't expect such a high result. Wolfsburg was just too strong for us, they're just a good one Team."
Wolfsburg were a good team even before Stroot took office at the beginning of the season, but the 33-year-old, with his assistant coaches Kim Kulig and Sabrina Eckhoff, managed to make the team even more dangerous and even more enthusiastic. "You can see that they are developing even more conviction," said national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg after the superior victory. Stroot was rewarded with a contract extension until 2025. The championship title was a first for him, and now the DFB Cup has followed. Because what has long been normal for his club was still new for Stroot: "It feels special to me." There is a risk that he too will get used to the feeling. And that's not good news for his opponents or for the league.