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Olympique Lyonnais ended their quest for the UEFA Women's Champions League title in May – and now begin a new mission to defend the trophy.
Lyon's 2-0 win against 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam at Craven Cottage was revenge for their final loss to the same club 12 months earlier in Madrid, which in turn had followed two consecutive last-four exits in the UEFA Women's Cup. Crucial to their triumph was Sweden forward Lotta Schelin, who having just helped her nation to third place at the FIFA Women's World Cup will embark on her fifth European campaign with Lyon on 28 September in their round of 32 first-leg trip to CFF Olimpia Cluj.
"We've been showing for years, now more with the semi-finals and the finals, that we are one of the best teams in Europe," Schelin told UEFA.com. "So of course everybody will want to play and win against us. They know that they're playing a good team. That's a reality but we are really confident about what we can do.
"Last year we had a lot of pressure and remained confident about our game, and we're going to do the same thing this year. If we manage to do that, all will be fine, but always when you're doing well everybody is watching every step you make. "
Apollon Limassol LFC or AC Sparta Praha await them in November's round of 16 should Lyon prevail over the next fortnight, and Schelin knows that against both Olimpia and, progress permitting, their next opponents, her side are expected to win comfortably. "I could say that it was a good draw for us because I just didn't want to play against my Swedish friends and I didn't want to play the Germans so early in the competition either," the 27-year-old said.
"At the same time we know the Romanians and you can't tell what's going to happen with them. I've played them and you have to have respect for them, but of course we are the favourites and should go through."
Oddly enough, Schelin's goal in July that helped to give Sweden third place in the World Cup was scored against a France outfit containing several club-mates. With the success of both Lyon and the national team, women's football is on a high in France, something Schelin is witnessing at close hand.
"It's kind of amazing, because I have seen it happen in Sweden when we did well in different competitions and how women's soccer has developed since then," she said. "That was ten years ago, but it's starting to become the same in France too. We are part of that and you can see now how it's developing because of the marketing, the media and many other elements that surround our game.
"It's really nice to see and the sport is developing well, especially after watching such a good level of football during the World Cup. As for us in Lyon, we're just going to keep on going. We have almost the same team and everybody is in good shape for the start of a new season. We have the pressure to do it all again and we want to make it happen."
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