Why Pauline Bremer left European giants Wolfsburg for Brighton and the WSL

  • Pauline Bremer played for Wolfsburg against Barcelona in last season's Champions League final
  • The 27-year-old forward spent three years at Manchester City before moving to Germany
  • Bremer penned a two-year contract with Brighton in June

Bremer signed for Brighton on a two-year deal
Bremer signed for Brighton on a two-year deal / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

Two weeks after registering the last effort of the 2023 Champions League final, failing to beat Barcelona's Sandra Panos as Wolfsburg chased an equaliser in vain, Pauline Bremer joined a Brighton side that had just finished second-bottom in the English Women's Super League.

In search of new scenery, Bremer traded the Bundesliga for the Brighton seaside, signing a two-year deal in June. It was the creative vision, upward trajectory and master plan introduced by manager Melissa Phillips at the back end of last season that enticed the 27-year-old.

Boasting a plethora of experience after turning out for the likes of Turbine Potsdam, Manchester City, Lyon and Wolfsburg, the clinical forward plans to plug the gaps in Brighton's attack, aiming to pull the side up from their 11th-place finish last season.

Bremer was the first signing for Phillips in what has proven to be one of the most promising recruitment windows of all WSL clubs. Vastly experienced internationals have arrived alongside hungry young talents while some vital names have remained on the south coast.

"I think it is a really good project to be involved in and I was looking for a new challenge," Bremer told 90min. "I had a good time at Wolfsburg. I was always playing for clubs that went for titles; here we have something to build. It is a good challenge for me to come into an environment and build something and be seen as a leader on the pitch."

Brighton were mired in a relegation battle for much of last season. After years of stability under the watchful eye of Hope Powell, Phillips became the fourth individual to take charge of the club in 2022/23 alone. Following Phillips' arrival in April, Brighton earned seven points to finish one place above relegated Reading.

But it was the idea of what Brighton intended to build that drew Bremer to the club. Phillips' reinvention of the struggling side at the end of last season and over the summer has been noted by all the recent signings as a key factor behind the club's growing appeal.

"We were talking for a long time," Bremer revealed. "All the people I talked to, whether the manager, the board, they were convincing. They had facts as to how they wanted to build the team up. The facilities speak for themselves, they are really good, we have everything to be a big club."

Pauline Bremer
Pauline Bremer was part of the Wolfsburg team that knocked Arsenal out of last season's Champions League semi-finals / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

While development in women's football has long been a focus for the traditional elite, Bremer ranked Brighton's infrastructure above some of her previous, theoretically loftier, employers. "At Wolfsburg and Manchester City we had good facilities," she said. "Brighton is one step further, with everything, the spa and so on, everything is a little bit bigger. It is also how to use them."

In 2021, the Seagulls moved into the state-of-the-art American Express Elite Football Performance Centre after an £8.5m investment into world-class facilities for the women's team.

While Brighton might be a new challenge for Bremer, the WSL is not entirely unfamiliar. The former Manchester City forward, who was with the Sky Blues between 2017 and 2020, insists that there is no unfinished business in the league. However, the universal professionalism of the division is one of the factors that enticed her back to England.

"I don't really look back too much," Bremer said, reflecting on her time in Manchester. "I like to look forward to the future, and I think the WSL is a really good league to play in as it is so competitive and professional, which is also why I chose this club as it is so professional."

Bremer has yet to make her debut for the Seagulls but has already aligned with the club's long-term vision that Phillips has instilled in her team.

"We have our big club vision; we want to be in the top four of the WSL, and we recognise it is a process to get there," Bremer outlined. "Of course, we want as many points as possible. It will not be made overnight, but we strive for the upper half of the table."

Concentrating on Brighton is the main focus for the talented forward yet this move will also impact her ambitions with the national team. The 21-cap Germany international has not been selected by Martina Voss-Tecklenburg since 2020.

"Of course, the national team is always a big honour. But I am only focused on the club right now; everything else will come," Bremer said. "I spoke to the national team coach about [joining Brighton], and she was really happy about the choice as she knows the league is really competitive. [German National Team coaches] will watch the games, and hopefully, I can make my way back to the team."

Bremer's exclusion from the national team dates back to a string of injuries that required 13 months of recovery at Manchester City before she was involved in a swap deal with Lyon that brought the return of Lucy Bronze.

"I do not want to be that injured player any more," Bremer said. "It has been good to have that full pre-season and really get fit. I feel really good right now. I don't have any issues; I hope it stays like that."

Brighton face Everton on the opening weekend, where the new signing will hope to shine as the Seagulls begin their bid to soar up the WSL table.