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Pauline Bremer: The long way back

A striker, occasionally relegated to fullback in the Champions League winning Olympique Lyonnais squad that bristled and brimmed with talent, Pauline Bremer’s move to Manchester City was seen by many as the conciliation for the Citizens losing Lucy Bronze to the French giants. Still just 21-years-old when she traded the Rhône-Alpes for Manchester, Bremer was an unknown quantity to many in the Women’s Super League, her exploits with Turbine Potsdam and Lyon a long way from the radar.

Bremer had shown huge potential at Potsdam as the former German powerhouse had their Bundesliga duopoly [with FFC Frankfurt] broken by VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich. Yet her senior career was often viewed from the bench, the attacker’s potential too easily forgotten about as she hung in the shadows of her peers at Lyon, her breakthrough into the German senior squad never quite materialising. The move to Manchester signalled a turning point for Bremer, a striker who offered something entirely different to City’s other centre forward option at the time, Jane Ross; the young German looked to have found a good fit with the Citizens.

Moments in Widnes

Given just eight minutes at the end of City’s 5-2 dismantling of Arsenal in second match week of the 2017-18 season. The Citizen’s next league match [against Everton] saw Bremer make her first start and by 20 minutes in she had her first goal, by 30 minutes in her leg was broken and it would be 13 months until she was back playing.

Unable to put weight on her leg for the first two-three months, Bremer admitted that she had to learn to walk again, the muscles in her leg having atrophied at the start of her rehab. But it gave her a greater appreciation for football, as she said last month.

You realise when you’ve been out for such a long time, how much you miss it and at the moment I enjoy every minute on the pitch… I think you can see in the goals maybe but I just like to be out there with the team and hopefully get more game time.

With four braces to her name already this season, a league hat trick remains just out of reach (although she did net a trio of goals against Sheffield United in the cup), yet where many strikers would be frustrated to have been substituted when on hat tricks on two separate occasions, Bremer feels only happiness for her minutes on the pitch. As she explained of her injury,

Personally, it helped me a lot because you have to be strong to overcome such an injury and knowing that and knowing how it would be without football, I never want to have that again so now I’m so grateful for every minute on the training pitch or in the games that I can play.

Bremer has undoubtedly come a long way from the young girl growing up in Göttingen, inspired to play by watching Die Wilden Kerle, who would charge about the pitch like an exuberant puppy, saving a portion of her free time for practicing overhead kicks – the perfect execution of a bicycle kick resulting in a goal still a dream of the striker. The leg break that saw her side-lined for so very long has moulded her into the player she is today, tearing it up in WSL, more cautious but with a different way of viewing the game.

I feel like the injury was a big challenge but helped me in many ways, the football side of course but when I was younger, I was going into rough tackles – a little blind maybe? So now I’m a little more clever about when to go into a duel or not, it’s helped with my vision of the game also.

In football, a season can go in the wink of an eye, the team who were on top last year can fall apart, players can move and become woven into their new homes in a flash, the career of a footballer is a finite one, so often too short. For Bremer, who promised so much when she moved from Lyon  – her last match with the French side a Champions League final (a successful one of course) – there is still work to be done to find her best football, which should certainly be enough to strike fear into any defence.

I feel like I’m getting closer now to being at my top level which is great.

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