Amber Barrett back in action as women’s Bundesliga resumes
Ireland international eager to help FC Cologne face Wolfsburg in relegation battle
Amber Barrett: ‘We couldn’t have re-started against more difficult opposition, but we just have to turn up on the day and make it difficult for them.’ Photograph: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
Having spent several weeks holed up in isolation in Germany, Republic of Ireland international Amber Barrett is eager to help FC Cologne reignite their battle against relegation when action in the Frauen-Bundesliga resumes on Friday.
With France, Spain and England having aborted the rest of the season for their respective women’s leagues after the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the resumption of the Frauen-Bundesliga and possible return of the Champions League is all that remains in the top-level women’s soccer calendar in Europe.
“Germany has been a little bit different to the other countries, I think they’ve handled it a lot better,” Barrett told Reuters in a telephone interview, referring to the significantly lower number of Covid-19 related deaths that have occurred in the country.
“They were on top of it [controlling the spread of the virus] straight away, and that obviously has helped.
“Of course, the most important thing is that everyone wants to play but you never want to put yourself in a situation where there’s a threat to your health.”
After the 24-year-old striker returned from international duty to Cologne in early March, the country entered a strict lockdown the following day.
Since then she has kept fit by running, doing weights and occasionally playing football tennis with a team-mate.
“We had to maintain our fitness because we didn’t know when we were going to get the call to say we were going back, and in fairness everybody [in the team] did their bit,” said Barrett, whose side will take on leaders Wolfsburg in their first game back.
Germany’s lockdown strategy appears to have paid off, as the men’s Bundesliga is the only major European league that has resumed its season, albeit without fans in attendance.
While the remainder of France’s Ligue 1 season has been scratched, other leagues around Europe are still weighing up options on when to return.
With two teams set to be relegated from the Frauen-Bundesliga, Cologne are second-from-bottom with seven points, two behind 10th-placed MSV Duisburg but with a game in hand.
Leaders Wolfsburg have dropped only two points in 16 games so far this season. With 46 points, they are eight ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich.
Despite facing the runaway leaders in their first game back, Barrett remained undaunted.
“We couldn’t have re-started against more difficult opposition, but we just have to turn up on the day and make it difficult for them, and hopefully I’ll get one little chance at the end of the game to win it for us,” she said.