FC Bayern’s Georgia Stanway meets her former English team-mate in the Bundesliga

On Sunday, England’s Georgia Stanway will continue her first season in the German women’s Bundesliga for FC Bayern Munich with an away game at former European champions Turbine Potsdam, where she could face her former U20 World Cup teammate Mollie Awaken.

At the tournament, played five years ago in France, Stanway was her country’s top scorer with six goals, while England finished third to take the bronze medal. Last summer, Stanway, along with other members of that team – Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp – became an integral part of the Lionesses’ squad that won the European Senior Championship on home soil.

For Rouse, however, who played alongside Stanway in England’s games at the U20 World Cup in 2018, the path hasn’t been as linear. After studying in the US, she played in the English second division before applying for a televised talent show for women looking to launch their football career. Last summer, when Stanway became European champions, Rouse made a surprise move to Turbine Potsdam, winners of the first edition of the renamed UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2010.

Speaking to me from Munich, Stanway told me she’s looking forward to reconnecting with Rouse. “I haven’t seen her in a long time to be honest because she obviously took the plunge and played in America. I think she’s doing fine. It’s such a competitive league in Germany so I hope she enjoys it and finds her feet and We spent a lot of time together in the youth classes, played each other and of course at the U20 World Cup in France when we were around after the win We were able to celebrate third place together. I’m looking forward to seeing them and maybe learning a little German.”

In 2022, Stanway was the world’s highest scoring midfielder, hitting the net 26 times, the number of times her much-vaunted international teammate Beth Mead, top scorer and player of the tournament at the UEFA Women’s Euro Finals. “Obviously that’s a pretty cool stat,” she tells me, “but winning is the most important thing. I will do everything to help the team and do my best as an individual. I give everything for the team, both on and off the ball, to put us in the best possible position to win.”

The tenacious Stanway has earned a reputation among opposition fans for conceding as many yellow cards as goals, with six bookings for Bayern already this season. She denies that she’s ever been malicious, but accepts that it’s part of her game that she can work on. “I think it’s just part of my competitive nature, I’ve always been used to playing with the boys – I’ve got brothers – I’ve been used to standing up for myself. In terms of the way I play, that’s part of my game. Sometimes I need to be a little smarter with tackles or timing things, but that will come with more experience and more openness.

Last month, Stanway traveled to Monterrey with FC Bayern for a one-off friendly to seal a multi-year strategic partnership with their opponents tonight, Mexican champions Tigres Feminil. At the same Estadio Universitario where England goalscoring legend Gary Lineker started his career with a hat-trick in the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals, Stanway was named Player of the Match in a game witnessed by 34,964 spectators, the largest crowd ever was ever seen a game of FC Bayern Frauen and over 10,000 more than Lineker has made a name for himself there.

Despite initial concerns among the team about flying so far for a friendly in the middle of the winter break, Stanway told me the players loved the experience. “Going to Mexico was very cool. The Mexican culture, the football culture, is absolutely amazing.”

“It’s nice to be able to interact with different players who experience different football. We’ve spent some time with the Tigres girls, we’ve played golf together, we’ve done some media together and it’s been opportunities to share stories and just be able to connect with them on a personal level. As for the game itself, the atmosphere was very special and both teams really enjoyed the experience.”

Six months into her time in Bavaria, Stanway is also enjoying the experience of living in a new country. FC Bayern’s Norwegian coach, Alexander Straus, is also new to the club and the two speak a common language, which has broken down language barriers. “Our trainer, trainer in English,” explains Stanway. “We’re more of an English-speaking club at the moment. We have a lot of different international players who also speak English.”

“The Germans are also very good at speaking English. We speak some English at the moment, which makes it a bit more difficult when trying to learn the language. When I speak in German, everyone laughs. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where everyone speaks German.”

After signing a three-year deal at Bayern Munich, Stanway, 24, admits she doesn’t know if she will one day return to play in the Women’s Super League, where she made her name with Manchester City. “It’s probably too early to tell, I’ve really enjoyed my time at City and England is my homeland so never say never. So far these six months at Bayern have been incredible. I’m here to represent Bayern to play, and I want to.” raise trophies with them. This is a team of special people, special employees. It’s a special place and we have the right people here to get some silver.

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