Wolfsburg’s women are back at it, finally! After completing all their fitness tests the team had its first training session last Thursday, which included new signing, Kristine Minde.
The 25-year-old joined VfL from Linköpings FC on a free transfer and has spent time training with the team since December, with the season in Sweden ending in October. But this was only as a free agent initially, as she was not under contract until January.
Her first impressions of club and city, have been only positive: “I have a great first impression. Everything here is on a top level and different from what I’m used to.
“The tempo is much higher (than in Sweden). We train a lot and often, which I’m not used to. And we have top coaches and lots of top players.
“It was always a dream to play in Germany, therefore the decision to come here was very easy.”
So in leaving Linkoping, did Minde talk to players before joining one of the best clubs in Europe? Indeed. Pernille Harder, whom she played with in Sweden, as well as national team colleague Caroline Graham Hansen, both playing a role in her decision.
“I spoke with them a little bit and asked them how it is. I only got positive feedback“, she says with a bright smile on her face.
After winning the title in Sweden she now has tough games in the Frauen-Bundesliga and DFB Cup on her agenda. Because Minde competed with Linköping in the Champions League already, she is not eligible to play for Wolfsburg this season in the competition. But her strengths will help the team nonetheless.
“I’m a team player. I’m very physical, can run fast and play in every position except goalkeeper, and I’m strong with both feet.”
The Norwegian International is one of the most complete players of her generation and will, without a doubt, play a big role in Wolfsburg’s future success.
While the footballers of VfL Wolfsburg’s women’s team trained a full 1 ½ hours, new signing Cláudia Neto left the pitch at the Elsterweg after roughly an hour last Thursday. The Portuguese International has to take it easy for a little while, as she explains: “I was injured in Linköping and have to take care of my knee and do a little bit of rehab. I’m okay though.” Fans will be pleased to hear that the injury will not prevent Neto from getting started in Wolfsburg.
A Portuguese in the Frauen-Bundesliga? That’s as rare as Neto’s start to her career. Neto grew up in Portimão in the Algarve, where both Wolfsburg’s men and women have completed training camps before, and started her career by playing futsal with UAC Lagos, before moving to Spain where she played on real pitches for Prainsa Zaragoza and RCD Espanyol.
She adapted well, and was one of the stand outs for the national team, which saw her gain the attention of professional clubs. In 2014 the 29-year-old moved to Sweden and signed for Linköpings FC where she grew into a key player. During her stay in Sweden, Neto won the league title once and cup twice.
She also played a huge role in Portugal qualifying for a major tournament for the first time. She competed in all three group games for Portugal at the EUROs in the Netherlands last summer and led the team as captain. Neto has already collected 100 caps with the national team and has therefore become one of the most successful women’s players of her nation. The Fauen-Bundesliga is now the next step.
“The Frauen Bundesliga has a good mix – the league is very physical and tactical,” she said.
“I like to take care of the buildup play and am a very tactical player. I like to find opportunities when it comes to attacking. I can help the team with that.”
VfL’s new number five has also had time to get to know her new city, but is raring to go as she awaits the winter break to end and play her first fixture.
“I was able to look around a little bit. It’s not the biggest town, but I’m very happy. Now I just need to get to know it better.”
PLEASE NOTE BOITH INTERVIEWS WERE CONDUCTED ON THURSDAY 11 JANUARY