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Anna Blässe: “Our Stars Know How to Toe the Line”

In this interview, the VfL Wolfsburg soccer player tells us the secret behind her team’s success, the nickname her teammates have given her and what posters used to hang in her bedroom.

Ms. Blässe, four games, four wins, 
goal tally 17:0 – is winning the German championship a foregone conclusion for 
VfL Wolfsburg?
No, certainly not!. The season is very long and we have to give our best 
in every game we play. Of course, 
we are the favorites and winning the championship is our clear goal. I still consider it the most important title. 
To win it, you have to play well – consistently well.

What’s special about VfL this season?
Our main advantage is that the core of our team has held together. We continue to grow together. It gives you quite an edge to know how other players tick – both on the field and off it. Something else that’s important is the good hierarchy we have on the team. We have a lot of players who are stars on their national teams – but they still toe the line here at VfL. That’s the secret of our success.

You are the longest-serving player to wear a VfL jersey and, at 31, are now one of the oldest. Do you feel old?
Old? (Laughing) No, no way! Neither mentally nor physically. On the contrary, my fitness levels improve with every season. My teammates call me Benjamin Button – a reference to the famous movie about a man whose biological clock runs backward. My mother even jokes that I’m still going through puberty. People who play team sports probably grow up a bit more slowly…

That might also have to do with the fact that younger players are joining all the time. As an experienced player, do you give the 17, 18 and 19-year-olds tips?
If young players ask for my advice, I’m happy to give it. I’ve been in the business so long that I know how certain things have to be done. I always tell the girls not to hold back during practice, but always to be bold.

Whose posters did you have hanging in your room when you were younger?
Mehmet Scholl’s and David Beckham’s. But I really only had Beckham’s because he’s good looking. (laughs)


You grew up in Hamburg, played for 
a season there, and have now lived in Wolfsburg for more than 11 years. 
Is this your home?
To me, home is where I feel at ease. 
And that’s definitely the case in Wolfsburg. I like living here and I could imagine staying here after my career is over…

… and to back to work at Volkswagen?
Exactly. Until 2015, I worked as a European management assistant in Metal Procurement before I was released from my duties. I am thankful to Volkswagen for the opportunity to be able to concentrate completely on soccer. Before that, I would sometimes get to the office at 6 am, would go to practice at 8 am, and would then return to the office. Quite a few times, my colleagues helped by lightening my workload.

ANNA BLÄSSE (31)

The forward, born in Weimar, moved to VfL Wolfsburg in 2007 when she was 20 years old. 
So far, she has won eleven titles with the club, including two Champions League wins. The trained office clerk also worked 
at Volkswagen alongside her 
soccer career for many years. 
She asked to be relieved of her duties in 2015.

Are you still in touch with them?
Yes. I sometimes spend my free time with a few of them. After the title wins last season, I got a lot of congratulatory messages from them. That made me really, really happy.
 

A professional athlete – to a lot of people, that sounds like a  
dream job. Is it?
Basically, yes. I turned my hobby into my profession. My life is very exciting and I get to travel a lot. The downside, however, is that it’s difficult to plan anything in my personal life. Some weeks, there’s barely any point going to the grocery store because I’m hardly at home. Add to that the pressure of always having to stay mentally and physically fit. Some days I wish I could work in an office until five and then do whatever I want without having to worry about the game and practice schedules.
 

When you transferred to VfL in 2007, 
did you have any inkling that the club would develop the way it has?
No, absolutely not. If I’d known that, I might not even have dared to come here. It’s amazing how women’s soccer in general and VfL Wolfsburg in particular have developed. I more or less grew up with the club…

“To me, home is where I feel at ease. And that’s definitely the case in Wolfsburg.”

… and became a player on the national 
A team here. The most recent of your 27  international games was more than 
six months ago though. Has your time with the national team come to a close?
No, I haven’t yet crossed it 
off the list. The important thing is that 
I continue to perform well at the VfL. And then we can see what else happens.

To finish up, let’s talk a little about 
the men’s team. After two years of poor showings recently, things seem to be perking up this season.
It looks that way to me, too. It may 
sound odd, but sometimes you need to experience bad phases in order to grow – as a club, a team and a player.