- Giulia Gwinn will kick off the new season with Bayern Munich on 6 September
- She was presented with the FIFA Young Player Award at France 2019
- Gwinn speaks about that experience and her high hopes with Bayern Munich
There are some moments in life that we particularly enjoy looking back on – moments that seem to change our lives in a matter of minutes. Giulia Gwinn experienced one such moment on 8 June 2019, when she scored Germany’s first and ultimately decisive goal in the 66th minute of their first match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France and was suddenly thrust into the international spotlight.
"Everything happened so quickly after the tournament; 2019 was like something out of a movie for me," explained Gwinn in an interview with FIFA.com. "It really didn’t sink in for me properly at first, but now I can handle the attention pretty well. Of course, it’s great to be in the public eye a little more, get more enquiries or be recognised more often. For me personally, I’m glad to get that appreciation, but I’m still fully focused on the football."
What began with a goal in the 66th minute against China PR culminated in the FIFA Best Young Player Award. The scorer of the winner in the opening match improved her technical quality, bravery and ability to read the game in every match she played for Germany and impressed with her liveliness and commitment. Yet it was a different feeling that initially took over immediately after the World Cup.
"If you’d asked me straight after the tournament, I would have said that the disappointment about our early exit outweighed everything else," Gwinn admitted. "But in hindsight, I took a lot away from that competition – not just the best young player award but also plenty of experiences both on and off the pitch. It was my first major tournament and very different to a youth World Cup. The impressions, the matches, the fans inside the stadium – you soak up all those things."
The midfielder is now looking forward to starting a new Frauen Bundesliga season with Bayern Munich – this time hopefully without interruption. The league came to a sudden halt for almost three months during the last campaign before the fixtures could be completed.
"We were lucky to be able to catch up on the Champions League and start playing earlier than other teams in our league," said Gwinn. "It was so much fun to work towards that. Unfortunately we only played one match against the eventual champions Lyon, but that makes it all the more exciting that a new season is starting and we are getting back to business in the Bundesliga. Playing a match every week is a little different to pre-season friendlies."
Although Bayern suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Olympique Lyon in the semi-finals of this year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League, it means they will be going into their opening league game against SC Sand with competitive match experience under their belts. Could this give them an advantage?
"I do see it as a positive thing," said Gwinn. "We were called into action at a very early stage and had to focus very quickly. We worked intensively in the brief amount of preparation time we had, especially to integrate the new players. We pulled together as a unit so well in such a short space of time. The Champions League tournament came as no surprise and we were able to adjust the way we worked accordingly – particularly when it came to fitness. I’m feeling confident about the start of the Bundesliga season. "
The 21-year-old is similarly upbeat about Bayern’s chances this season. "We’ve made some fantastic additions to the squad, adding even more power in attack in particular," explained the Friedrichshafen-born midfielder.
"There were some departures too, of course, but against Lyon you could already see that our team can hold its own at the highest level in Europe. It’s a shame that wasn’t enough to reach the Champions League semi-finals in the end, but it also gives us motivation. We’re looking forward to the new season; we want to frustrate the big teams even more and compete for the title," she added.
"I also think Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt will do well this season," Gwinn continued. "It’s great for the league that other teams have made upgrades with the aim of challenging us and Wolfsburg. The field is getting tighter at the top. If you want an exciting competition, it can only be a good thing if people aren’t thinking ‘Wolfsburg have got it in the bag,’ before the first round of matches is even played.
"I would love for as many teams as possible to stake their claim. Nevertheless, we want to reclaim our second place from last season – and aim our sights even higher than that."