A year ago Nadine Kessler was playing in the 2. Bundesliga after a serious knee injury – she is now a German international with a league winners' medal, eager to "ice the cake".
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Nadine Kessler says she is eager to "put the icing on the cake" of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam's season when they take on Olympique Lyonnais in the inaugural UEFA Women's Champions League final – she could just as soon be talking about capping her own meteoric rise.
"The anticipation ahead of this match, in this special stadium, is huge," the 22-year-old midfielder said as she familiarised herself with Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. "It's such a special occasion. There will be a fair bit of nervousness involved, but it won't be too much. We have enough confidence and go into the match without any fears."
She need not. Only a year ago Kessler was plying her trade in the 2. Bundesliga with 1. FC Saarbrücken, finding her feet again after 12 months out with a career-threatening knee injury. Others may have balked at the prospect of clawing themselves back from the precipice – but not Kessler. "I am too crazy about football," she said. "I never wasted a thought on ending my career. The alternative would have been to focus solely on university, but that alone was never really an option."
Instead she battled back and, last summer, was rewarded with a move to top-flight champions Potsdam. She calls it a "big step" but in reality it has been a giant leap. She landed in Madrid earlier this week a senior German international with a Bundesliga winners' medal to her name and, thanks in part to her five goals in six UEFA Women's Champions League appearances, on the brink of European glory.
"We want to put the icing on the cake for our season and will do everything to do it," said Kessler, twice a UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship winner before injury struck. "
If we have the cup in our hands at the end of the evening then it would surely be the biggest moment of my career."