Having guided 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to the UEFA Women's Champions League final for the second year running, coach Bernd Schröder tells UEFA.com about his long, glittering career, the wealth of silverware amassed by his club and their prospects of retaining the trophy.
UEFA.com: During 40 years of management what has been your most memorable moment?
Bernd Schröder: Following the fall of the Iron Curtain our future remained uncertain. The club existed but with no financial means after the main sponsor withdrew. So for me the breakthrough occurred in 2004, when we reached the cup final in Berlin, which was always a dream for us. We gave a sensational performance, beating Frankfurt 3-0. That was an incredible experience we will never forget.
UEFA.com: What does reaching back-to-back UEFA Women's Champions League finals mean to you?
Schröder: Since 2004 we have managed to win 15 titles − the UEFA Women's Cup, three German Cups, five domestic league titles, and five indoor championships. To win 15 titles in seven years is something unique.
To become domestic champions for a third consecutive year and to reach another Champions League final on our 40th anniversary is an outstanding achievement.
UEFA.com: How important has the success of Turbine Potsdam over the last few years been for the city?
Schröder: Potsdam is not necessarily a big football city. We have Berlin close by, with Hertha who have just been promoted to the Bundesliga again. We have other sports like canoeing, rowing, swimming, and track and field. The special thing about our city and the region is that we are one big sporting family. We understand each other; we learn from each other. We also train alongside each other or even together. The success we have at the club is also based on the success and the support of the region, the city and our federal minister, who does everything to support and develop sports further.
UEFA.com: What was the decisive factor this season in overcoming FCR 2001 Duisburg and making it to the final?
Schröder: Well, first of all I have to say I was surprised. We suffered a bad run, including an underwhelming German Cup final in Cologne where we deserved to lose. We thought it would be difficult against Duisburg, as they have similar qualities to Frankfurt, but in the end the decisive factor was our great team spirit over the two matches. We played with a very young team and gave an excellent performance.
UEFA.com: How do you explain Germany's success at both national and international level?
Schröder: We have never avoided playing international matches. I just think about the indoor tournament in Jollenbeck, where there are lots of teams participating from northern countries, and having the chance to compete with excellent teams and players. We knew individually where we wanted to go. We played many friendly matches and participated at many tournaments.
At Potsdam we have five or six players in the national team and many more in the youth teams. That means you always have experience, so the development of the team is fantastic. In 2004 [Germany] became Under-20 world champions for the for the first time, with Viola Odebrecht, Anja Mittag and new signing Patrizia Harnebrecht, and they bring that international experience. Everything just adds up and comes together with all the matches we play.
UEFA.com: Now you will face Olympique Lyonnais again in the final, a team with some great names. What makes you think you can prevail again?
Schröder: Lyon are more predictable with their style of play, but they have great individual players and the ability to play some good football. Yet we are prepared this season to cope with their very physical way of playing.
UEFA.com: Who do you think are Lyon's most influential players?
Schröder: Lara Dickenmann has made huge progress, we'd like to have her in our team. But in general it's a mix of great players. There is [Sonia] Bompastor, who we know well after a spell at Montpellier. They are all older now but still play great football.
UEFA.com: Following last year's UEFA Women’s Champions League triumph were you worried your players could suffer from a lack of motivation?
Schröder: We haven't really played great football since winning the Champions League final, because many players were ready to take a break. You can only prevent that if you have a large squad, and when we say we have training at 8am, all the players have to be present. The same applies when we have training on a Sunday or even on a holiday. That is the decisive factor for our success.
We don't have players who might disturb the development of the team. We have always managed to get out of difficult situations. If we look back to 2009, when we lost the cup final 7-0, a week later we had a decisive match for the domestic title. In that situation we forgot about the cup final and concentrated fully on the next match.
UEFA.com: What has been, for you, the best match in your 40 years in women's football?
Schröder: That's difficult to say. You always need two teams for a great match. There was one match when we won 7-2 away against Frankfurt in 2004, but you could argue Frankfurt just had a bad day. On the other hand, maybe with the national team you could say the final of the first World Cup we won with Germany, when Nia Künzer scored the golden goal, which was very emotional. It was a fantastic match by both finalists. There have been many fantastic games, but it's important to recognise that matches have become better and are played at a faster pace.
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