In the summer of 2015, footballer Lina Magull decided to take a supposed step back. She won the Champions League, the German championship and the DFB Cup twice with VfL Wolfsburg and led the U20s to the World Cup title as captain. And yet she left.
Magull extended her contract until 2018, but she was no longer supposed to play for Wolfsburg. Instead of hoping for more playing time there, she was loaned out to SC Freiburg, who had just finished seventh, and later she moved to Baden entirely. The detour brought her forward, she developed into a leader and national player, and in the summer of 2018 she went to FC Bayern Munich – after Freiburg had finished fourth in the Bundesliga twice and third when she left.
Magull has probably often thought about this phase of her life in the past few weeks and months.
What had already been rumored has been official since Saturday: The 29-year-old will not extend her contract with FC Bayern, which expires at the end of the season, but will move further south to Inter Milan in Italy during the winter break, where her contract runs until 2026. FC Bayern announced that it had complied with Magull’s request for a change and had terminated the contract. “She is an authentic personality who has shaped the face of women’s football, including the upswing in recent years,” said department head Bianca Rech. Magull inspired on the pitch and spoke up “critically and thoughtfully – you come across characters like that End thought processes and changes.”
After a muscle injury in the fall, coach Alexander Straus used her less frequently
On Friday, in the 4-0 friendly against Spanish first division club Granada CF at the end of the training camp in Alicante, Magull was no longer on the scoresheet. “Even as a child, I wanted to be able to play for FC Bayern and I am very proud and grateful to have achieved that,” the Dortmund native is quoted as saying in the Munich team’s statement. For a long time, Magull was one of the top performers at her favorite club. She scored 40 goals in 159 competitive games. The midfielder, known as a fine technician, led FC Bayern as captain for three years and won the championship twice (2021, 2023). The first title in particular, she said as she said goodbye, will remain in her memory: “I had tears of joy in my eyes for the first time in my life.”
It is well known that after the successful European Championship in 2022 – thanks in part to her performance – and the euphoria it triggered, she slipped into a certain mental and footballing low. As well as the fact that she is a very self-critical athlete. The following season was difficult for her personally, Magull decided to give up the captaincy, which she saw as stressful, in the summer of 2023. So she wanted to try to focus more on her own performance again.
But after the disappointing World Cup in Australia, an involuntary break followed with consequences. After a muscle injury at the end of October, coach Alexander Straus used her less frequently. Magull did not find his usual form. And regardless of this, the Norwegian has had a prominent alternative in the tenth position since this season: the Danish Pernille Harder. With a view to the possible Olympic qualification and the 2025 European Championships, every minute of playing time is even more important for Magull.
In order to be able to fully live out her clever and intuitive way of playing football, the artist Magull needs to feel free in her head. In the recent past, however, a feeling of stagnation has obviously prevailed instead of ease. The change is likely an attempt to use a different environment and new impulses to create the effect that already helped Magull to achieve a boost in development. In any case, the pattern is similar: from a top club with title chances to a smaller club in women’s football with perhaps no less ambition, but certainly less noticeable pressure.
In any case, Inter is not one of the top teams in the Serie A femminile, the gap between fourth place and league leaders AS Roma is 16 points. The Milanese team finished third last season. Magull could make her first appearance for her new club this Sunday when Inter hosts US Sassuolo Calcio at the end of the winter break.
Looking back on her decision to move from Wolfsburg to Freiburg, Lina Magull said in an article: “It was the best decision at the time.” If she succeeds in Milan what she did in Freiburg and afterwards, there could soon be another quote like this from her in the future.