Potsdam penalty hero Sarholz in relaxed mood

The star of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam's final defeat Olympique Lyonnais last year, Anna Felicitas Sarholz heads into Thursday night's rematch saying she's "never had a problem with pressure".

Anna Felicitas Sarholz at Potsdam's training ground
Anna Felicitas Sarholz at Potsdam's training ground ©Sportsfile

Just the sight of Anna Felicitas Sarholz warming up before Thursday's final will send a shiver down the spine of the Olympique Lyonnais players.

After all, the last time they set eyes on the imposing goalkeeper she was wheeling away in triumph after her penalty saves in the shoot-out of last season's UEFA Women's Champions League final had won the German side the trophy.

It is worth recapping just how close to victory Lyon had come before Sarholz turned the the final on its head. After a goalless 120 minutes Lyon moved into a 3-2 lead in the shoot-out and had two penalties to win the trophy. Instead, Sarholz saved low to her right from Amandine Henry and then denied Isabell Lehn Herlovsen to turn the momentum Potsdam's way. She even scored one herself before Élodie Thomis crashed her spot kick off the bar to trigger Potsdam's celebrations.

Incredibly, Sarholz had already saved three penalties in a shoot-out against FCR 2001 Duisburg in the semi-finals. "You are lucky when you choose the right side," Sarholz said. "But you can read the opponent and perhaps tell through their reactions, their body language, where they might shoot. The rest may be athletic skill or something else, it's a combination.

"You can't really lose. When someone scores, everyone says, 'OK, that's not too bad.' When you stop one, you are the greatest. I have never really had a problem with pressure. I don't know why I'm so good at penalties, it's just a matter of luck. I don't think about it. If you start thinking, you've lost."

It is hard to believe Sarholz is still just 18, and the youngest regular in the Potsdam side. Physically strong and dominant on the pitch she appears older. She is leaner this year too, the result of a strict training regime that has further sharpened her reflexes.

She also credits her coach Bernd Schröder for getting the best out of her. "He has a never-say-die attitude. You don't stay down for long, you stand up and run some more. It's very enjoyable following that motto. You pick yourself up and keep on going."

You can read the full interview with Sarholz in the Official UEFA Women’s Champions League Final programme, which is available to buy at the UEFA Champions Festival and at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

Supporters wishing to attend the 2010/11 UEFA Women's Champions League final in London can purchase tickets now priced at £3 for under-16s and £5 (€5.90) for adults. They can be bought via a portal on Fulham's official website or by calling +44 (0)843 208 1234 (option 1) 24 hours a day, seven days a week (no booking fees apply online).