Frankfurt's Waldstadion proved a fitting venue for the first staging of the UEFA Women's Cup final. It was the last match to be played at the arena in its 72-year history before its reconstruction ahead of Germany's hosting of the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. Taking part were Europe's two strongest teams, Umeå IK from Sweden and hosts 1. FFC Frankfurt, and each was hoping for the honour of winning the competition in its inaugural year.
The organisers did a superb job of creating a great atmosphere and suitable setting to match the magnitude of the occasion. More than 12,000 fans turned out, a European record for women's club football, despite the poor weather conditions and they left in upbeat mood after hosts Frankfurt recorded a deserved 2-0 triumph thanks to goals from Steffi Jones and Birgit Prinz. "This final has been a real European event," said then UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner. "It displayed two highly skilful teams offering good tactics and attacking football. This is certainly encouraging for the years to come."
Also encouraging was that 33 member associations entered teams for a competition designed to both increase the profile of the women's game and give players added competition to strengthen national team tournaments. One qualifying match was played before the teams were split into eight qualifying groups of four teams, playing mini-tournaments during September and October 2001. The eight group winners contested the quarter-finals in March 2002 with Umeå, HJK Helsinki, Toulouse FC and Frankfurt, all domestic champions, advancing to the last four.
There HJK's challenge was ended by Umeå and Toulouse's by Frankfurt, meaning many of the players which graced the 2001 UEFA European Women's Championship final would do likewise in the UEFA Women's Cup. Again, the Germans prevailed, with Frankfurt's coach Monika Staab saying: "Everyone in my team played a great match. I think that in the end we deserved to win considering what we produced in the tournament." The standard had been set.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.