The period of self-isolation is over and head coach Achim Feifel's players returned to the training ground on Monday 30 November. Three days after the 3-0 victory at SV Meppen on 15 November, the Leverkusen Health Authority put the whole squad that made the trip to the newly promoted team in self-isolation for two weeks after a Leverkusen player tested positive for Covid-19. The match against FCB, originally set to be played on 22 November, had to be postponed and Leverkusen players were unable to answer international call-ups. Only Viktoria Pinther who was not in the squad for the Meppen game, and thereby avoided self-isolation, was able to play for Austria in the Euro qualifiers against France (0-3) and Serbia (1-0).
"We got through the self-isolation in good shape. Particularly for the players who have been in action a lot recently, the enforced break was good for gaining strength for the year end run-in," explained Feifel. Although unable to work with the ball there was training to maintain fitness levels – in the evenings via online fitness sessions plus individual regimes for power training. "We maintained the same structure as in a normal week of training. We have the experience from the lockdown earlier in the year. It took one or two days to really get into it but training was very good from Tuesday," said the coach.
Good fitness levels and stamina are requirements to overcome the next opponents Bayern Munich. "We'll have to do a lot of running. We won't have the ball as much – and running without the ball is more tiring than with it," predicted the head coach. "Bayer Munich have covered the least ground in the Bundesliga because they have good positional play and they let the ball run. We have to close down space to contain them and we need to be very compact. That demands a disciplined tactical approach in defence. We have to be clear that every individual has to surpass themselves and be ready to go into challenges with aggression and force."
FCB lead the table in the FLYERALARM Women's Bundesliga after nine matches with a perfect record of nine wins from nine games and an impressive goal difference of 30 for and one against. "Bayern are full of confidence at the moment; after the win against Wolfsburg they are on cloud nine. It will be a big challenge against a skilful team full of individual quality. We will be tested in all areas of the game."
Feifel still has to manage without long-term injured players Pauline Wimmer (torn cruciate) and Jessica Wich (broken ankle) plus the goalkeeper duo Anna Wellmann and Joyce Prabel. Wellmann is set to gradually return to goalkeeping coaching in the coming days following her finger operation. Prabel has recovered from a muscle injury but is currently working on regaining her fitness. Melissa Friedrich and Lara Marti, who were both substituted at Meppen with muscle problems, are not yet fully fit. Henrietta Csiszár (ankle) and Dora Zeller (knee) are also doubtful after having to drop out of training this week.
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