Women’s Super League starts on Sunday, with the 2016 champions City visiting Yeovil
Striker Pauline Bremer says playing in her favourite position can help Manchester City Women achieve their goals
It is rare a footballer voluntarily departs a club that has just won back-to-back Uefa Champions Leagues.
If comparisons with the men’s game do not always help women’s football, Pauline Bremer’s decision to leave Lyon was the equivalent of one of Zinedine Zidane’s charges walking out of Real Madrid in the summer.
It is not the only intriguing element about Bremer’s move to Manchester City. Sometimes major signings subject themselves to the pressure of replacing one key player. In different ways, Bremer is taking over from two. Lucy Bronze, the reigning PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year, joined Lyon as part of the transfer that took Bremer to City. On the field, however, she will take the place of Toni Duggan, the forward who has signed for Barcelona.
It is a challenge she relishes. “There is always pressure,” Bremer said. “The highest pressure is made by myself because I am really ambitious and I want to do better than the day before.”
City initially had to use their persuasive powers to entice the Germany international to move. “Man City was interested in me and at first I didn’t think about change because I had got one year more in Lyon,” she added. “But the offer was really interesting and they wanted me as a striker and that is the position I want to play.”
Indeed, one of the curiosities is that Bronze is a buccaneering right-back. It was a role Bremer filled in France.
“When I got to Lyon, we had got a lot of strikers there and someone was missing on the full-back on the right side and the coach wanted me to play but I felt like maybe not my best position,” Bremer said.
“Playing full-back for Lyon was quite offensive and I liked attacking on the side but you also have to defend.”
Her change in role will be ratified when the Women’s Super League starts on Sunday, with the 2016 champions City visiting Yeovil. In a way, the transition from defence to attack has already begun.
Bremer has been given the traditional striker’s shirt. “For me, the No 9 has a big meaning because when I was younger, I always played with the No 9 and that is my number and I am really happy I could take it,” she said.
It has an added significance for one who grew up worshiping Birgit Prinz, the double World Cup winner, Germany’s record scorer and a player who wore the No 9 shirt.
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Bremer joined Lyon from Potsdam. Two years in France, training and playing with some of the finest players, improved the technical side of her game. She admits that her old employers still represent the gold standard.
“These two first years were really great with Lyon,” she said. “I think Lyon is still the top women’s team but you can already see that City is going to the top level."
She is well placed to assess them. Bremer was injured when Lyon beat City in the Champions League semi-finals, but Nick Cushing’s side won the second leg in France. “I think this year we have a really good team,” Bremer said.
Her individual aspirations have changed, even if she does not speak with a forward’s selfishness.
“Of course as a striker you want to score goals but if I score 10 goals in five games but we lose all the games then the goals are not achieved,” she said.
“I hope we can get far in the Champions League. That is a big goal.”
And winning it three times in a row with two different clubs would be another unusual distinction for Bremer to have.
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