A brace of honours for Lea Schüller: The 24-year-old striker has been named Women’s Player of the Year and scored the Women’s Goal of the Year for 2021, as voted for by the DFB’s fan club. The FC Bayern attacker spoke to DFB.de about the awards and looked forward to what lies ahead in 2022.
DFB.de: Lea Schüller, you have received two awards from the DFB’s fan club this week, for your performances over the last 12 months. What do these honours mean to you?
Lea Schüller: They are extremely valuable to me. The fact I have been named Player of the Year is a little more significant than my Goal of the Year, as it recognises me for my performances over the last 12 months and not just for a single special moment. Nevertheless, I’m very proud to have been given two awards – I’m extremely happy.
DFB.de: How do you think your 2021 has gone in a sporting sense?
Schüller: I scored lots of goals, but I haven’t reached my limit yet; I still have potential that I want to explore. I’m delighted to have won the Frauen-Bundesliga with FC Bayern this year, as well.
DFB.de: It’s also been a year affected by the pandemic. How has that affected you as an athelete?
Schüller: It was a difficult time for everyone. Right now though, we’re just happy that we can still do the thing we love and continue our careers; It’s not a given. It was a challenge though, because we were suddenly not allowed to do some of the things we used to take for granted and change the way we did things. We’ve been able to play in front of our fans for parts of 2021, and not able to in others. I think it’s hindered the fan culture we have in football, especially impacting the women’s game, but there was no alternative.
DFB.de: You have not just been named Germany’s Women’s Player of the Year. The fan club have also voted one of your goals as being the Women’s Goal of the Year for 2021...
Schüller: ... our second goal against Belgium at the start of the year.
DFB.de: Exactly. Svenja Huth found you with a fine cross and then you fantastically volleyed the ball over the opposition goalkeeper. What do you think now looking back on the goal?
Schüller: The first thing I think about is the fact that Svenja’s cross wasn’t actually that great (laughs)! She really gave me a test with that ball. I just intuitively the ball on the volley because it sat up perfectly and it ended up being unstoppable. Normally my goals are pretty unspectacular, just striker’s goals, but it was great that a properly beautiful goal went in for me.
DFB.de: You’ve retained a title, too, as you won the Goal of the Year for 2020.
Schüller: I’m always delighted to win these awards, because they come from the fans. The fact I’ve scored the best goal for two years back-to-back is great, but the truth is I’m still ambitious and looking to take more of my chances – I’ve missed too many. That’s something I need to work on.
DFB.de: Looking ahead to 2022, this year will be jam-packed with big games for you: a fight for the title in the FLYERALARM Frauen-Bundesliga, the knockout stages of the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, and EURO 2021 in England in summer.
Schüller: I’m looking forward to it all! We’re playing catch-up to VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga at the moment, but we’ve got that under control. There are still ten games for us to get back on top once again. That’s our aim: we want to defend our league crown. We want to do that as a bare minimum, and perhaps even do a bit better...
DFB.de: ... in the quarter final against Paris St. Germain.
Schüller: It’s a super tough but extremely attractive challenge. We’ve got two games to beat them and we’ve already proved we have the opportunities to pull it off.
DFB.de: And then, the EUROs in England this summer.
Schüller: I’m really excited for that; it’ll be a great tournament. We’ve still got six months or so to prepare for it. Everything is possible here too, but as ever it will be tough; we’ve got a very strong group with Denmark, Spain and Finland. It’s our aim to get through it, but things won’t get any easier after that. There are so many good teams at the tournament – it’s going to be a fight.
DFB.de: Have you got any ideas as to where you stand with the national team at the moment?
Schüller: The Four Nations tournament in February against England, Canada and Portugal will be an important indicator. They are all strong opponents to come up against, and we want to prove ourselves against them. I get the impression that we’ve left the poor run of form we were in behind us. There was a period where things just didn’t go well at all. In the meantime, we’ve become more and more stable in our performances. We’ve got lots of young players with huge potential, and have also had experience at the top level of European football. There’s something special about this team – I’m really looking forward to what’s yet to come.###more###