This week's five talking points from women's football include the end of an incredible winning streak, question marks over COVID-19 cases and why a great goal doesn't get seen by more people.
It can't be said enough: The Women's Bundesliga needs more visibility and accessibility. Wolfsburg defender Joelle Wedemeyer scored a goal against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday evening that needs to be seen to be believed. The 24-year-old cut inside from the left nine minutes into the game and powered the ball into the net from almost 25 yards out. After clips of the goal were posted on Twitter, the curve and velocity of the strike left football fans speechless. Even former US goalkeeper Hope Solo retweeted it and shared it with her millions of followers. A week after Tobin Heath's goal for Manchester United was viewed over a million times on social media, Wedemeyer's goal was further proof that the potential of this league remains untapped. While 100,000 views is no mean feat, it's easy to imagine with proper marketing and a working social media strategy by clubs and the league, it too would have been seen by a million or more.
SGS Essen haven't always had it easy in the past. While some seasons they are considered among the best, often they also struggle after radical changes within their squad. They have always been a great club for talents to develop and then move on to bigger clubs. Just prior to this season, they lost almost all their key players with Germany internationals Marina Hegering and Lea Schüller both joining Bayern Munich, Lena Oberdorf moving to Wolfsburg and Turid Knaak heading to Spain to sign for Atletico Madrid. After starting the season with four losses and only one victory, Markus Högner's team has steadied the ship and gone five games unbeaten. Their latest win, a 6-1 destruction of Duisburg, saw both Nicole Anyomi and Carlotta Wamser score braces.
The Women's Bundesliga had to deal with its first cancelations of games due to COVID-19 this past weekend. First, Bayer Leverkusen against Bayern Munich got called off after a player in the Leverkusen team tested positive. Just two days later the same happened to Turbine Potsdam after two Werder Bremen players caught the coronavirus. Both affected teams are now in self isolation. This comes in stark contrast to the Bundesliga, where hours before Gladbach played Augsburg, defender Ramy Bensebaini tested positive. Gladbach's game went ahead though, with everyone else testing negative. Hoffenheim tried to get their game postponed after dealing with a fresh set of cases but their request was denied by the DFL (German football league). Perhaps the women's game is simply doing more to protect their players, but it certainly feels like the two leagues are approaching the handling of the coronavirus differently. Everyone's health should come first and canceling games should be considered more often.
Olympique Lyon are undoubtedly the best women's team in the world. Their dominance in winning the Champions League seven times speaks for itself, as does their status as French champions for the past 14 years straight. This year though, it looks like the title race in France is getting tasty. Lyon's four-year, 80-match win streak in the league is officially over after they lost by a single goal to Paris Saint-Germain. Marie-Antoinette Katoto scored the winner just 10 minutes in to hand Lyon their first league defeat in 1,440 days. Germany's Sara Däbritz was involved and will now be looking to make top spot their own after PSG moved one point ahead of Lyon at the top of the table.
According to a new set of FIFA rules, professional female footballers should soon be able to take paid maternity leave worldwide, although the FIFA Council has yet to approve the new rules. This includes players who should be given mandatory maternity leave of at least 14 weeks, of which at least two thirds of the contractually agreed salary should be paid. Clubs are also obliged to reintegrate players after their return and to provide medical care. Discrimination against women on the basis of pregnancy will also be prohibited. "We want women to be professional football players but also to be able to have a family at the same time", said FIFA women's football commissioner Sarai Bareman.