It’s not often a player can sit back in October and take stock of the year, in the certain knowledge it will definitely go down as a very special 12 months. But with 31 December still in the distant future, Germany international Lena Goessling can do just that.
In 2013, the midfield enforcer won the legendary treble of the league, cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League with VfL Wolfsburg. The crowning glory for the 27-year-old was still to follow, as she inspired Germany to the trophy at the UEFA Women's EURO in Sweden.
"It’s hard to imagine having a better year than this. Winning three trophies at club level is certainly an exception. It’s always possible I might win more trophies in the future, but nothing can beat winning all three with VfL. That’s definitely not possible. Obviously, it’ll always be a target, but it’s going to be really difficult to top this year," Goessling exclusively told FIFA.com. "The success has sunk in now. I think we’ve had enough time to understand what’s happened, and I think we now realise what we’ve achieved."
Goessling played a significant role in the trophy-laden year. Goessling was named player of the match in Wolfsburg’s Champions League final victory over Olympique Lyon, and she was also a crucial member of the Germany team at the EURO. Her inspirational performances did not go unnoticed, and she was duly nominated for European Women’s Player of the Year. "Obviously, I was pleasantly surprised," Goessling recalled after learning she was up for the prestigious award. "I wasn’t expecting it in the slightest, because there are so many good players. Making the shortlist of three was a real personal honour."
Aiming for the top in qualifying
Innate modesty lies at the heart of the player’s genuine and appealing character. She shuns the limelight, always preferring to talk about the team – an attitude that was key to Germany’s success in Sweden. "We always went out and played as a team. Team spirit was the secret of our success. We were well aware that our group stage performances were below par, but rather than letting it unnerve and weaken us, we pulled even closer together. That’s our hallmark. We always believe in ourselves."
The Germans are now looking to team spirit as the solid foundation for success in qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ in Canada. Coach Silvia Neid’s team are in Group 1 with Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland and Russia.
"Obviously it’ll be difficult for us, because we’re European champions and everyone’s out to beat us. But we have the very clear target of qualifying directly for the World Cup as group winners," declared Goessling, although she is in no mood to look ahead to the showdown in Canada at this stage. "I have no sense or vision of the tournament yet. Qualifying is the priority for now. I’m not yet thinking about Canada, because we have to make sure we qualify first."
New season, new targets
The reigning continental champions have taken a first confident step towards achieving that goal. In their opening qualifier, the Germans cruised to a crushing 9-0 victory over Russia, with Goessling scoring one of the goals. It was also a small but essential first step towards the player realising one of her dreams: "I want to be a world champion."
But before the merest hint of action in the global showdown in Canada, Goessling must tackle a demanding schedule, with World Cup qualifiers and a large number of games in VfL Wolfsburg colours. The new season at club level is already well underway.
"It’s good we’re back to the bread-and-butter of the league, because we’ll settle back into our normal rhythm, although we know a lot of hard work lies ahead. We’re not yet back up to the level of the other players. Pre-season was very short for us. There’s no problem with rebuilding motivation, but it’s much harder to return to the everyday routine. It’s certainly been very eventful recently. You have to work your way through all that and put it behind you, before getting back to where you were," stated Goessling, before putting her personal targets into words: "We’re aiming to retain our trophies. For me personally, I’d like another consistent season with my club, and to qualify for the World Cup with the national team."