Women's coach Achim Feifel: ‘You have to dream’

The Bayer 04 Women's team made a successful start at the beginning of the second half of the season in the FLYERALARM Women's Bundesliga last weekend. The team from Leverkusen went into a well-deserved winter break with 19 points in 12 games after the 2-0 home win against newly promoted Carl Zeiss Jena. Head coach Achim Feifel shared his personal assessment with the press at the start of the week. In a virtual press conference, the 57-year-old provided insights into his work on the touchline and reveals what his plans are with the Black and Reds.

Achim Feifel on…

…finishing the first half of the season in sixth place: "The aim was – similar to last year (fifth place, ed.) to finish mid-table. That's also what appears doable to us in terms of possibilities up to the end of the season. Therefore, we are happy with progress to date. We could have picked up one or two more points in one or the other games including the matches against Wolfsburg (1-1, ed.) and Frankfurt (0-1, ed.). But, to be honest, we were lucky to win as for example in the game Freiburg (2-1, ed.). In that respect, the current position reflects our performances."

…the potential of the team: "We've had fluctuations in performance week by week. Therefore, our next target is to make the individual players more consistent in their individual performances. For example, going 3-0 down in the derby against Köln or conceding seven goals against Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich mustn't happen to us. Even though we have a very young squad with an average age of 22, we have to stand up and be counted in such situations."

Achim Feifel communicates with 18-year-old Chiara Bücher.

…the personal situation in the squad: "I don't think I'm the only coach who can complain about absences through injury. We've had to compensate with losing an average of six players from the original 22 strong squad and that sets us back individually as well as from a team perspective. We have two important players coming back soon in Jessica Wich and Nina Brüggemann and that will strengthen us mentally. They are players who communicate on the pitch and are able to guide their teammates with their leadership qualities."

…the infrastructure at Bayer 04: "The work of Thomas Eichin (Head of the youth and women's sections at Bayer 04 , ed.) definitely makes us feel the support of and our value to the club. Thomas regularly talks to the players, watches every game and is working actively to move things forward. For example, we were able to move training sessions from the evening to the afternoon and thereby create better conditions for training. We are very well set up here with our coaches, fitness coaches and physiotherapists.

…the development of women's football in Germany in recent years: "The level has improved and performance capacity has increased. There are now a lot of clubs set up very well including financially. The German teams can compete on the European stage. I'm very pleased with this development overall. I'm even happier when we help develop young players here and are able to persuade them to carry on going forwards with Bayer 04 – as recently with Verena Wieder and Kristin Kögel who have extended their contracts."

…youth players at the club: "We have talented players who have moved up to our squad. Sofie Zdebel made her debut this year at the age of 17 exactly like Clara Fröhlich who scored her first Bundesliga goal against Jena. With Annika Enderle and other players from the second team and the U17s we also have the opportunity to include other talented players in training and bring them up to Bundesliga level. The fact they have the option of training with the lads teams is also an important element for a long-term concept. I see it as my personal task to approach every player and give them feedback."


17-year-old Clara Fröhlich scored her first Bundesliga goal against Jena.

…his targets with the Black and Reds: "We want to consolidate in the coming one or two years. We can't assume that we can catch up with long-term top teams like Wolfsburg or Bayern but also Frankfurt, Hoffenheim in Potsdam. But, of course, we want to work our way up step-by-step. That involves the personnel situation in and around the team or improved infrastructure. Overall, we're on the right track and above all growing sustainably with young players. Of course, there is the hope over the long term of being able to play in Europe again. You have to dream otherwise you wouldn't want to make the effort."

The Leverkusen Women's team start training again on 3 January. And from 12 to 22 January there is a training camp on Gran Canaria. The first friendly is on 29 January against second division SV Meppen (kick-off: 15.00 CET). The Feifel team return to the FLYERALARM Women's Bundesliga campaign on 6 February (13.00 CET, live on MagentaSport) with an away game at SGS Essen.

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