31.07.2022, Berlin: Zahlreiche Menschen verfolgen das EM-Fußball-Finale der Frauen im Park am Gleisdreieck. Foto: Paul Zinken/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Suddenly the enthusiasm swept over. Also to the people who are otherwise involved in men’s football and have been sitting in front of the television or in the stadium full of excitement every week for many decades and cheering or suffering with their teams.

Now, in the last three weeks, that enthusiasm has finally spilled over into women’s football. I consciously choose the word finally, because when you consider that the women’s first international match took place in 1982, our joy in 2022 is kindled quite late.

Growing up in a family interested in football, I was confronted with the sport at an early age. For me, the weekends full of Bundesliga or Premier League or the English weeks with cup games were normal everyday life.

As a teenager, I began to question why I only see men playing on the lawn with a ball at their feet. So I began to follow the women’s games as well as the men’s games more and more often. In my expression I have never made a difference. When I used the expression “watching football” I always meant both men and women.

Comments such as “if you watch football, at least watch the right ones” or “then you can also watch the district league” were collected relatively quickly.

So it didn’t scare me in the last Uefa Women’s Champions League season when the question arose how I could waste my time like that. But I was a bit irritated or surprised, because even during the Champions League season you could feel a different atmosphere that women’s football wasn’t allowed to convey before.

The games were played in the big stadiums for the first time and the Camp Nou was suddenly sold out for the classic Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona. The choreography of all Spanish fans together for equality in football sent goosebumps down to the little toe and conveyed one of the most important messages: we shouldn’t differentiate between genders when watching football. The games were tense.

I’m sure that interest in women’s football grew during the 2021/22 Champions League, even if it was only hidden in order to avoid the comments of others. Because you don’t see any more or less than the men of bad play or a lack of tactical understanding.

I think a lot of people have understood that in the last three weeks. Because while I sat alone on the couch in the first game against Denmark and was allowed to cheer four times with my dog, I sat together with my friends in the final. Suddenly, those who had made fun of it before got excited. I’m sure I won’t be watching the next Champions League season alone.