With eight days to go until Chelsea begin the defence of our Women’s Super League title against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, we profile our inspirational German midfielder Melanie Leupolz, who made a welcome return to action last season after giving birth almost a year ago.
Name: Melanie Leupolz
National Team: Germany
Place of Birth: Wangen im Allgau, Germany
DOB: 14 April 1994 (age 29)
Height: 1.72m (5 ft 8 in)
Leupolz joined the Blues ahead of our 2020/21 campaign, signing from Bayern Munich where she spent six years in the Frauen-Bundesliga and won two league titles. She arrived with a wealth of experience and proven pedigree at the highest level.
In her debut season, Leupolz played an important role as we secured the WSL and Continental League Cup, while also reaching our maiden Champions League final. She managed 34 appearances and scored nine goals during her first season at the club.
During the first half of the 2021/22 campaign, Leupolz was a regular starter for the Blues. In March 2022, having not featured since the previous December, Leupolz announced her pregnancy and happily welcomed a new member to the Chelsea family last October.
She returned to the squad during the 2022/23 mid-season winter training camp in Spain in January. There, it was confirmed that she had signed a contract extension with the club. She made her eagerly-awaited return to action in a victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round at Kingsmeadow at the end of January, and celebrated her return with a domestic double in May.
On the international stage, the German stepped up to the senior side aged 19 and has since surpassed the 75-cap mark. Leupolz enjoyed success along the way with a 2013 European Championship triumph and 2016 Olympic gold medal. She also went to both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups in Canada and France.
Following her return to club football at the start of this year, she played for Germany at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand that followed in the summer. Shortly after the conclusion of the tournament, Leupolz announced her retirement from international football.
Click here to secure your seats for the Blues opening WSL fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 1 October, with kick-off at 5.30pm (UK time).