Glasgow City LFC's wait to play a European knockout game finally ended last week and although a second-half Valur Reykjavík equaliser means they travel to Iceland on Thursday with the score at 1-1, Eddie Wolecki's side have already had something to celebrate.
Sunday's 6-1 defeat of Spartans FC ensured Glasgow their fifth straight Scottish title with three games to spare and a UEFA Women's Champions League return for 2012/13. But with the club having got through the qualifying round in August after near misses in the previous two seasons, their focus is firmly on setting up a potential round of 16 meeting with two-time champions 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam.
"It certainly helps knowing that domestic matters are tied up in the league and that no matter what we are back in the Champions League next year, which is a great boost to the team," said general manager Laura Montgomery.
"The girls are very confident they can get a result [in Iceland]. We took enough from the first match to think we can get a win over there. We created lots of chances in the first half especially and while it was disappointing we only managed to convert one of them it certainly gave us lots of confidence we can score against this side."
A yellow card in the first leg leaves captain Rachel Corsie suspended. But Montgomery, who co-founded the club with Carol Anne Stewart 13 years ago and travels back to Glasgow every weekend from Manchester where she works as an operations manager, is confident City can further their European ambitions. "No disrespect to the Scottish league but every year Europe is our aim and we want to do better in that competition year after year," she said.
"Nobody would give up this amount of time, effort and personal finance if we didn't enjoy every single minute. It's moments like last Thursday and hopefully a victory this Thursday that make it all so worthwhile. The next target is the last 16 and it would be absolutely fantastic if we could do that."
As for 2005/06 quarter-finalists Valur, who have fallen at the round of 32 for the last two campaigns and lost their Icelandic title this year, home advantage has given them belief. "We are focused on the game, already back to earth after the first game," coach Gunnar Borgthórsson told UEFA.com.
"We had only studied the Glasgow team from videos but saw they were a very good side playing high-tempo football, but we also saw we had a chance. The game in Glasgow, on a smaller, artificial pitch, was very difficult but we scored an away goal so expect the second game not to be as high tempo but will play in a similar way."
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