Beats & Rhymes FC

Lena Goeßling interview: ‘Here’s to what lies ahead’ – Echoes of a year to savour for Germany midfielder

Photo courtesy of VfL Wolfsburg

Photo courtesy of VfL Wolfsburg

 

With a FIFA Women’s World Cup year on the horizon, it will arguably take clinching the big prize in Canada to top a terrific 2014 that had an anthem of its own for VfL Wolfsburg’s German international Lena Goeßling.

A midfielder with 68 caps for her nation, Lena was in amongst it all as club and country reigned supreme this year. The 28-year-old was a regular as Wolfsburg retained the UEFA Women’s Champions League and Frauen-Bundesliga, also helping Germany to the top of the world rankings this month for the first time in seven years.

There was also success for the Germans at the Algarve Cup in March and Wolfsburg recently ensured they would head into the Bundesliga’s winter break unbeaten and at the top of the table. As the months of 2014 have passed by, the accomplishments have stacked up and Lena approaches the beginning of a new year with every reason for excellent spirit.

In the Euro 2013 final, she wore number 20 as she patrolled Germany’s midfield alongside 2014 Ballon d’Or nominee and club colleague Nadine Keßler. Lena was celebrating that day as Norway were beaten 1-0 in Solna, and a starting place in Canada as Germany go for their third World Cup title is among her primary objectives for 2015.

As each player interviewed on here has the chance to discuss, music can provide the backdrop to all kinds of notable career moments. Lena describes its significance to her and also shares the song that stood out above all others to accompany some of those aforementioned footballing high points earlier this year.

“I think music is a part of my life, especially during the preparation for a game, but I do not think that you could not live without it. I listen to nearly everything; rock and techno are the only kinds of music I would not take.

“I think the first I bought was a Bravo Hits (compilation) CD. In my private life there are no songs that mean a lot to me but in football last season it was Andreas Bourani ‘Auf uns’.”

 

 

That track was a chart-topper in Germany and Austria and lyrics that translate to ‘here’s to us’ and ‘here’s to what unites us’ are certainly relatable to Lena and her teammates. Joining Wolfsburg in 2011 from fellow top-flight team SC 07 Bad Neuenahr, she scored her third goal of the current Bundesliga season as the Green-Whites beat Hoffenheim 3-0 on December 14th.

The league season will not resume until February, but Ralf Kellermann’s team are two points clear of FC Bayern Munich after the opening 13 games. The possibility of a third successive Champions League crown also remains and FC Rosengård of Sweden are the quarter-final opponents in March.

Earlier this year, Wolfsburg’s Swedish star Nilla Fischer featured on here, discussing her love of music and more, and she was crucial in the team’s domestic and European success in 2014. Currently, it is someone who typically plays just in front of Lena who can be found dictating the pre-game music in the changing room.

“Sometimes I am the DJ but there are always different players. At the moment, Selina Wagner chooses the music and she plays everything.”

Wolfsburg’s 4-3 win over Sweden’s Tyresö to retain the Champions League in Lisbon in May was a spectacular reminder of their resilience as they came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to triumph. With the exception of Nilla Fischer, every Wolfsburg player who featured that night was German.

It is not the first time of course, but this year has been filled with successes for Germany in the game. In addition to the men’s senior team in Brazil, the women’s Under-20 side were also World Cup winners, earning Maren Meinert (also Under-19 coach) a nomination for the FIFA World Coach of the Year alongside Wolfsburg’s Ralf Kellermann.

As mentioned, Lena’s teammate Nadine Keßler could be honoured as the best player in the world at the awards on January 12th. The two have figured frequently together for Silvia Neid in the national team and contributed to a perfect qualifying record for the upcoming World Cup, the Algarve Cup final win against world champions Japan, and friendly victories this year away to Canada, Sweden and England.

Players from national teams around the world have described on here the ways in which music brings their respective groups together, so what about the Germany team? Lena, who was a scorer in the 5-0 win against Iceland at the Algarve Cup, sheds some light on the part it plays.

“We listen to a lot of music together and I think it belongs to the changing room. I think everyone has their own taste in music and that’s OK like it is.

“We are relatively united in our team (with music).”

Together with compatriot and current Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Fatmire Alushi, Lena appeared in the music video for female singer Velile’s song ‘Injabulo’ in 2011. A winner at the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship in 2004, she has played in front of some sizeable attendances since her full Germany debut in 2008, including starting before 45,867 against France in the 2011 World Cup group finale in Mönchengladbach.

She can handle the occasion of playing in front of a big crowd, but let’s say she was to switch roles and record a song. Lena was asked who she would perform a cover version with and she opted for Fischer, although it wasn’t teammate Nilla, but a German singer instead this time.

“I would choose a song of Helene Fischer and I would like to perform with her!”

Among the biggest crowds Lena has featured in front of was the 45,619 at Wembley in November. A landmark day for women’s football in England, Mark Sampson’s team were presented with a very stern test against a Germany side who would climb to the top of the FIFA rankings in December.

The Euro 2013 winners sealed a 3-0 away victory with a first-half double from Celia Sasic after an own goal from Alex Scott under pressure from Simone Laudehr. Jordan Nobbs hit the bar for England after just eight seconds but the visitors’ superiority was undeniable.

It was the first time the Lionesses have played at the new Wembley and the build-up and promotion for the game was considerable. As much as the experience was unforgettable for those wearing white, the sense of occasion was not lost on the German players, as Lena explains.

“It’s an event you will never forget. To play in this stadium is a dream for everyone, and I think with so many viewers, for all of us, a little dream came true.

“The English team is a good one and I think we had a good day, and otherwise it could have ended differently. England I think is one of the top teams and we want to compete with the best teams of the world.”

 

Some of the Germany players take in their Wembley surroundings in November. Photo: @Lena0803Lena

Some of the Germany players take in their Wembley surroundings in November. Photo: @Lena0803Lena

 

Aside from a home friendly defeat to France in Offenbach in October, it was a superb year for Germany. On the domestic front, Lena, who represented FC Gütersloh 2000 until her move to the Bundesliga in 2006, is looking ahead to Wolfsburg’s next game on February 15th with Bayer Leverkusen.

The 2013 DFB-Pokal (German Cup) winner has so far netted in wins over Essen, Frankfurt and Hoffenheim in the league this season. Only Turbine Potsdam’s Genoveva Añonma has scored against Wolfsburg up to now and the Green-Whites are looking formidable as they aim for further glory at home and on the continent in 2015.

Away from the midfield encounters for club and country, Lena prefers to keep everything decidedly low-key.

“I like to meet friends and go shopping in my free time, and then of course the housekeeping must be made, but I have no special interests or hobbies.”

When Germany’s number 20 is out on the pitch, her technical prowess, speed and shot power have impressed more than a few. Nilla Fischer is one such example and the Swede picked out these qualities in her interview on here as she chose Lena in her response to this final question.

Every player on the site is asked to round off their interview by envisaging themselves in a 5-a-side team. It is down to them to then select four of their career teammates to take the remaining places in the line-up, which is understandably tricky for most as they try to narrow it down from the best they have ever worked alongside.

Just like in the Andreas Bourani song, it is a case of ‘here’s to what lies ahead’ for Lena, as she targets the pinnacle of women’s football in the months to come – a World Cup winner’s medal. For now, it is a glance back as she introduces the players she chose for her fantasy 5-a-side team.

Aside from a certain popular Swedish defender, Lena selects three pivotal players from Germany’s Euro 2013 final victory. There is the captain and double-penalty-saving hero, a gifted fellow midfield operator, and lastly, the match-winner from that day in Solna.

“For keeper, I choose Nadine Angerer because she is always reliable and sometimes she can settle some games alone for the team. My defender is Nilla Fischer: I think she is one of the best defenders of the world and you can always count on her.

“For another midfielder, I take Nadine Keßler. I always feel well next to her and we both know what the other one does in the game; I do really feel good with her.

“Last but not least, my striker: Anja Mittag. She is a really good friend of mine and the best player in Sweden for this season.

“I have fun playing with her and she has the flair for goals.”

To catch each of these interviews, follow me on Twitter: @chris_brookes

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