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Yuki Nagasato can hardly wait for the UEFA Women's Champions League showpiece after scoring to set 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam up for a meeting with Olympique Lyonnais, telling UEFA.com: "I will score at least once in the final."
The Japanese striker found the target on 40 minutes to secure victory for Potsdam after they had drawn 2-2 in the first leg of the all-German semi-final away from home. The reigning European champions will now meet French titleholders Lyon at Fulham FC's Craven Cottage on Thursday 26 May, and 23-year-old Nagasato is up for the challenge.
"I am already really looking forward playing Lyon again," she said, having come off the bench as Potsdam beat Lyon 7-6 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in last season's decider. "I will score at least once in the final.
Last year we had to go through a penalty shoot-out, but this time we want to win it in regular time."
The match-winner acknowledged that it had been a tough semi-final. "We showed team spirit, although it wasn't easy as two of our important defenders, Bianca Schmidt and Josephine Henning, were missing," she explained.
Coach Bernd Schröder singled out Nagasato for special praise. "Yuki has developed a lot this season, on and off the pitch, and she is always completely focused when she plays," he said. "She is a valuable player and our most dangerous striker at the moment."
Schröder added of the second leg: "We didn't think it would be as easy as it was in the end, but the Duisburg players were arguing on the pitch and they lost focus; that helped us. We deserved to go through if you look at both games."
Potsdam goalkeeper Anna Felicitas Sarholz was the hero last season as her side beat Duisburg on penalties at the same stage of the competition, and she played her part again this time around, twice denying Kozue Ando in the early minutes.
"As a keeper, you have to always be ready for whatever will happen, at the start of a game or at the end," she reflected, adding that a lucky charm may have played its part in her side's success. "
The day before the game, the son of our media officer gave me a picture and he wrote on it that we would win 1-0."
Captain Jennifer Zietz praised the solidarity in the Potsdam ranks, meanwhile. "Our finishing wasn't very good, but we worked well as a team and helped each other." That will set them in good stead for their next meeting with Lyon. "They have excellent players like Lara Dickenmann, Shirley Cruz Trana and Ingvild Stensland," added Schröder. "We can only win as a team."
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