When the Dutch were awarded the 2017 finals, many picked out Vivianne Miedema as a potential star. She tells UEFA.com about that and FC Bayern München.
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At the age of 18, Vivianne Miedema is already garnering a big reputation in the game and being talked about as the potential star of UEFA Women's EURO 2017.
Last December the Netherlands were appointed hosts of the 2017 event, the competition's first 16-team final tournament. In the preceding year Miedema had already led the Dutch game forward, inspiring their victory at the 2014 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship and emerging as the 16-goal top scorer in FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying as the Netherlands reached their first global finals.
On top of that, after three prolific seasons with sc Heerenveen, Miedema was signed by resurgent FC Bayern München, who currently sit unbeaten ahead of VfL Wolfsburg, 1. FFC Frankfurt and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam at the Frauen Bundesliga summit. Miedema spoke to UEFA.com about the UEFA Women's EURO coming to the Netherlands and her move to Bayern.
UEFA.com: What was your reaction to the Netherlands being awarded UEFA Women's EURO 2017?
Vivianne Miedema: It's great, such a big tournament in your own country. It will be a great honour to play there. As a player you look forward to that: your friends, family, everyone can come and watch. So you just hope you stay fit enough and good enough to be able to play in the team during the tournament.
UEFA.com: What kind of tournament can we expect?
Miedema: I think it's going to be a huge tournament. You can already see it's starting to come alive. We have great host cities in that sense, where women's football is really alive. We just hope we'll take big steps during the actual tournament and perhaps cause a surprise, so that women's football can become even bigger in the Netherlands.
UEFA.com: How much of an inspiration to your generation was the Netherlands' run to the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 semi-finals?
Miedema: That was very important. From that moment, women's football became better known on television, and more girls started playing football. I was already playing of course, but it does give you something extra. From that point, women's football has become bigger and bigger.
UEFA.com: How did your transfer to Bayern come about?
Miedema: I had a good year last year, so there was some interest from different clubs. I had a look around Munich and I had the best feeling there, so I chose Bayern.
UEFA.com: How has it been to play in the Bundesliga?
Miedema: The standard is a lot higher than in the Netherlands, especially in terms of the girls being a lot fitter, having more endurance, which makes the level of competition higher. And we are competing very well at Bayern this season.
UEFA.com: Bayern are the only one of the big four in Germany not to win the European title; can you qualify and win the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2015/16?
Miedema: Not yet, I think. I mean, we are taking big steps now, you can see that at all levels, on and off the pitch. But I am not sure it's realistic to say we can win the Champions League. But as I said, we have a lot of quality in the group, so you do hope we will be able to compete for that sort of trophy at some point.
UEFA.com: How is the experience of playing in an all-international club team?
Miedema: For me it's ideal. When I arrived here, there were a lot of other new girls as well, from many different countries; and it's easier to become a team that way, you spend more time together. We're a close-knit group. And that is very important on the pitch of course and it shows in our performances.
UEFA.com: You were unbeaten in your six league games against Wolfsburg, Frankfurt and Potsdam this season. What was the key?
Miedema: I think in the top matches we can really rise to the occasion. We were very strong as a team, one really strong unit on the pitch. I think that was the key, and why we didn't lose any of those games.