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    One class, two leagues

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    Anyone who sees the schedule for the first day of the match could be wondering which Bundesliga it is actually. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and SC Freiburg play against each other on Friday. The matchday will be concluded by the champions from Munich, who will, however, meet Werder Bremen.

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    The women’s Bundesliga reads more and more like that of the men. In Bremen, the female soccer players have now overtaken their male colleagues, at least in terms of league membership. But even without Werder, seven of the twelve teams in the Bundesliga have a counterpart in the men’s top division.

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    One of the few exceptions is Turbine Potsdam. The club is still attractive to many players in Germany. Anna Wellmann, who came to Potsdam from Bayer Leverkusen, says: “I have always set myself the goal of achieving the maximum. The move to Turbine Potsdam opens up new opportunities that I want to seize and use. “However, the 26-year-old goalkeeper will probably have to fight for her regular place – although no player has been seeded, as her coach Sofian Chahed says.

    “Turbine still has a unique selling point as a women’s football club,” says Chahed. In addition to the former European top club Turbine, only SGS Essen, SC Sand and Carl Zeiss Jena can do without a big club behind them. Licensed players department is the magic word. If the women’s team comes from a club with the high-class men’s team, as in Cologne or Munich, or is integrated into such a club, as in Frankfurt, the possibilities are completely different, in terms of personnel, finances and infrastructure.

    “The license teams in Wolfsburg, Bavaria, Hoffenheim and even Leverkusen all have the men’s youth training center behind them,” says Chahed. “That means they have better training opportunities and can hire more coaches to work even more specifically in the women’s area.” Therefore, “you have to be clear that you can’t play at the top of the league, that doesn’t work,” he says aware of the different starting points. Turbine’s cooperation with Hertha BSC also helps, where he used to play as a professional himself, but little.

    The clubs are also financially in different spheres. Turbine, Jena, Essen and Sand have to finance themselves and instead of one big sponsor they tend to have three or four small ones on their chest or thigh. In recent years, however, the clubs have regularly made pluses. The situation is different for teams with a strong club behind them. Most recently, they spent an average of twice as much money as they made. However, what is a lot of money in women’s football, men’s football pays out of the postage. More than 50 players changed jerseys in the Bundesliga in the summer. Not a single euro was paid for. “You always look at who, where, how is free transfer and then try to negotiate so that you get the player on time,” says Chahed.

    There is also an international trend away from the traditional women’s soccer club. There were four major clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League: FC Bayern, Chelsea, Paris St. Germain and winner FC Barcelona. The Italian champions were called Juventus Turin and in Spain FC Barcelona prevailed in the title fight against Real Madrid. In the English Women’s Super League, which serves as a model for many European leagues due to its high level of professionalism, all teams will be descended from a men’s club in the coming season without exception. “We’re always one step behind. We’re also doing better at Turbine. But it is not that you can keep up, you have to be very clear, ”says Chahed about the situation.

    “We want to get fewer goals, score more goals and have more points than last season,” said Chahed

    The situation is different for the first opponents in Potsdam of the season. Turbine competes in Wolfsburg on Saturday (1 p.m., Magentasport). “Everyone who is here has come to Wolfsburg to achieve the maximum,” says Wolfsburg’s new coach Tommy Stroot. Compared to his former club Twente Enschede, there is a “very, very different professional base” in Wolfsburg. But this also applies in comparison to turbine. While Stroot suddenly has access to a whole team of full-time employees in Wolfsburg, most of the work in Potsdam remains with head coach Chahed and his assistant coach Dirk Heinrichs. You lead the training, prepare the video analysis yourself and also make sure that the training grounds are watered in good time. Chahed’s predecessor Matthias Rudolph was still a high school teacher in Potsdam during the day.

    In professional sport, more money means more time. “We just have more time together here to solve things,” says Stroot. Not only he, but also many of his players, as professionals, can fully concentrate on the sport. At Turbine, on the other hand, many players study or go to work, “so spontaneously scheduling a training session is difficult,” says coach Chahed. Some of his players would be absent once or twice a week. “We are not so professional that we have access to all of them 24 hours a day.”

    Turbine’s sporting home is the Sportpark Luftschiffhafen, more precisely the house of the clubs. The yellow brick building was opened in 2013. The soccer players share the building on the Templiner See with the canoe club Potsdam, the DLRG and the Potsdamer Laufclub. The airship port is a community project with few frills. Turbine did not benefit like other clubs from the expensive infrastructure of a successful men’s team. During training on Wednesday, a class from the Potsdam Sports School sprints on the running track around the field, while Turbine’s players do exercises with the athletic trainer and Chahed sets up the next unit. It’s a full day: strength training in the morning, then video analysis of the opponent in Wolfsburg and training on the pitch in the afternoon.

    Turbine could even be accommodated by the fact that it goes straight to Wolfsburg

    The preparations for the start of the season are underway and the goals are clear. “We want to get fewer goals, score more goals and have more points than last season,” said Chahed. “We didn’t discuss that it has to be third now.”

    Despite all the fundamental disadvantages, he is optimistic about the game against Wolfsburg, which thanks to the new TV deal will be shown live on Magentasport and on the Internet on rbb. “The preparation went well, how fit we are will be proven over the weekend,” says Chahed. He gets a blueprint for success as an outsider from an undreamt-of source. “For years I worked like the turbines in this situation, so I can relate to it very well,” said Wolfsburg coach Stroot. Last season he won the Dutch championship with Twente Enschede under similar conditions.

    Turbine could even be accommodated by the fact that it goes straight to Wolfsburg. In preparation there was a clear focus: “We have stabilized the defensive”. Chahed wants his team to stand securely in the back and hurt the opponent in front with good actions. There is no doubt about the attitude anyway: “If we go into every game as if we were playing against Bayern or Wolfsburg, we win a lot of games that we played in a draw last year.”

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