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Manchester City

How injury helped Bremer become WSL’s most in-form striker with 10 goals in five games

16:51 EAT 16/01/2020
Pauline Bremer Manchester City Women 2020
Two years on from signing from Lyon, the Manchester City forward is finally fit and firing - and there's still so much more to come

Three games into the New Year, most people’s money would be on Vivianne Miedema, Sam Kerr or Ellen White being the top-scoring player in England – not Pauline Bremer.

With her hat-trick against Sheffield United on Wednesday, the Manchester City forward took her tally for 2020 up to seven goals.

Factor in the few she netted at the end of last year, and Bremer is the most in-form striker in the Women’s Super League.

With 10 goals in her last five outings and an outrageous average of a goal scored every 26 minutes, no one comes close.

“It feels really good!” she said after City’s Continental Cup quarter-final win over the Blades, her smile beaming and her hands firmly on a match ball – finally, having netted two goals in three of her last four games.

“I was kind of stuck at the brace!”

But the smile wasn’t for her goals. It wasn’t even for herself. It was because she is finally able to do what she’s always wanted to do in a Man City shirt – help the team on the pitch.

“I think I just enjoy it at the moment. I struggled with injuries over the last two years and now I just feel really fit and healthy,” she said.

“I think that’s the most important thing, to stay fit, and just enjoy the moment and hope it will continue like that.”

In her first season in England, Bremer played just three games, managing only 105 minutes of football across all competitions due to injuries.

The following year, she didn’t fare much better, playing 117 minutes in the WSL across four appearances, and nothing else.

It’s been an incredibly tough start to her City career, especially with all the cultural changes of the move on top of that and the fact that she is still just 23 years old.

But there is no sense of feeling sorry for herself.

“I feel like the injury was a big challenge, but it definitely helped me in many ways,” Bremer admitted to the club's website before the game with Sheffield United.

“One: on the football side because I think that when I was younger, I was going into rough tackles a bit blind. Now, I’m a bit more clever, deciding when to go into duels and when not to.

“It’s also helped my vision of the game, and personally, it helped me a lot because you have to be strong to recover from such an injury.

“I think you realise when you’ve been out for such a long time just how much you miss it.

“At the moment, I’m enjoying every minute on the pitch and I think you can see that in the goals.

“I just like to be out there with the team.”

The scariest thing is how young Bremer still is. Her breakthrough with Turbine Potsdam back in her homeland came when she was just 16 years old, and her move to Lyon was only three years later, so it’s easy to forget that she still has so much time on her side.

It’s time that the striker is keen to use wisely, too.

“I think I can improve massively. I’ve still got lots to come,” she said.

“Defensively, maybe getting around a bit quicker and the change of direction, that’s from a physical point of view, but also in the game, technically, and playing together with the team, there’s always areas I can improve – and I will.

“I’m not being critical of her goal-scoring but her all-round build-up play, it has to improve,” manager Nick Cushing added.

“We want to work on it, we want to get her better. Between the two boxes, she can be a better player, but in the box, she’s showing that she’s an incredible goal-scorer.

“She’s scoring a lot of goals, but she’s missing a lot of chances as well, so she can score even more! And she knows that.

“But, like I say, we can’t be critical of her goal-scoring. I think that was her 19th goal of the season in all competitions, which is incredible for us.”

For now, over two years on from her move to Manchester, it’s just exciting to see Bremer finally fit, scoring and able to show the WSL what she can do.