“I didn’t speak up to say I was ready for the post. But my behaviour on and off the pitch, the way I play, were definitely a sign for the coach (Achim Feifel, ed.),” surmised the midfielder. “I’m very happy about the vote of confidence. Being the captain shows great appreciation.”
Wich has now been at Leverkusen for over six years and is the longest serving player in the first team after goalkeeper Anna Klink and she also counts as one of the absolute leading personalities in the team. But regardless of whether she wears the armband or not: “I always give one hundred per cent. But now I feel obliged to communicate even more on the pitch. More than before anyway,” said Wich who has already set the tone in her position in central midfield.
According to her own description, she is ‘unpleasant’ in this role – for the opposition of course. In addition, ‘Jess’ stands for ambition and the ability to win the ball. But she keeps quiet when there’s a possibility of exchanging opinions with the referee. “I’m not the sort of person who normally jumps around aggressively and shouts the odds – at the very most that can happen on 70 minutes after several wrong decisions,” she said with a grin. Exceptions prove the rule. “You get a bit further with quiet conversations particularly in women’s football with female referees. That’s always worked out up to now.”
Wich is also more of a reflective character away from the pitch. “Even though I am one of the oldest in the team, I’m always a bit crazy from time to time and speak a lot of nonsense.”
It’s mainly quiet at her flat as the adopted Leverkusener is not often at home. Her day begins in the office at seven thirty in the morning. Albeit not without an intake of caffeine – the first move after getting up is to the coffee machine. During the day, she has a full-time job as a management assistant in property before the training sessions in the evening with her day ending at 21.30. “You get used to it,” she said with a shrug of the shoulders. “There are one or two tough weeks. But fortunately I’m able to be relatively flexible with my working hours thanks to flexitime.”
Jessica learned early on what long days mean: At the age of 16, the youth talent moved from her home club in Kronach in Bavaria to second division SC Regensburg, which was 200 kilometres away. She commuted there three times a week by train and another training session was completed with the youngsters at the DFB Academy in her region.
After one season, Wich joined the Bundesliga club Turbine Potsdam. After three German league titles, one DFB Cup and winning the Champions League, she signed for Hamburg SV to gain match practice after an injury. After HSV withdrew the women’s team from the league, she wanted to get back to the top of the Bundesliga with FFC Frankfurt (now Eintracht Frankfurt) and she spent two years there as a full-time professional footballer before moving on to Leverkusen. “Everywhere I went I had a lot of positives and I have happy memories of all of them,” Wich said looking back.
She has now been playing for Leverkusen for six years. “The basic concept was right at the time; it was a young, hungry team that I saw myself being part of. We have developed since then. The facilities here have become better. On top of that, I’ve settled in here in Leverkusen – found a job and made friends. I feel really good at the club as everything is very intimate and informal,” she said. “There’s never been a reason to leave here.”
Born: 14 July 1990 in Kronach (Bavaria)
At Bayer 04 since: 2014/15
Previous clubs: SC Regensburg (2006-2007), FFC Turbine Potsdam (2007-2011), Hamburg SV (2011-2012), FFC Frankfurt (now Eintracht Frankfurt, 2012-2014)
International career: Germany U15-U23 teams
Honours: UEFA Women’s Champions League winner 2010 (with Potsdam), champion of Germany 2009, 2010, 2011 (all with Potsdam), DFB Cup winner 2014 (with Potsdam), DFB Indoor Cup winner 2008, 2009, 2010 (with Potsdam), 2015 (with Bayer 04), promotion to the Bundesliga 2018 (with Bayer 04), semi-finalist in the U19 European Championships 2008, U20 World Cup winner 2010
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