Efficiency is the German footballing strength of stereotype – and that was the quality 1. FFC Frankfurt goalkeeper Nadine Angerer believes salvaged their UEFA Women's Champions League campaign.
Returning to Europe after a two-year absence, Frankfurt faced falling at the first hurdle after a 1-0 loss to Stabæk FK in Norway last week. However, a 4-1 home win on Wednesday ensured the three-time champions progressed to a round of 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain FC next month at the debutants' expense. Frankfurt went two up before the break and never conceded the aggregate advantage.
"Like last week we were the better team, especially in the first half," Angerer told UEFA.com. "We played very cleverly and changed our tactics in the second half. That was efficient, even if it might not have been attractive for the spectators. It is not always about playing nicely, this time it was more important to be efficient."
Equally important was a 20th-minute penalty save from Angerer when Frankfurt had cancelled out Stabæk's aggregate lead, the Germany No1 having herself conceded the kick. "I was pleased I was able to save it as that sort of moment can give a boost to your team," Angerer said.
Buoyed by Angerer stopping Katrine Pedersen's penalty, Sandra Smisek made it 2-0 to Frankfurt later in the half. "I think overall we deserved to advance," the forward said. "
We knew beforehand it would again be a very tight contest today and I was relieved when we scored the fourth goal."
Stabæk captain Pedersen was, not unnaturally, disappointed. "We had our chances, I had a penalty saved," she said. "
You don't know if the missed penalty was a crucial point, but it could have definitely been a very different game. Even in the second half we could have scored, we had more chances than in the first leg. But my penalty would have given the mental kick and lift we needed in the first half and in the whole game."
Coach Roger Finjord, whose side will aim to claim one of Norway's two places in next season's competition as their league concludes this month, praised his players. "Frankfurt are a fantastic team and over two matches they deserved to advance," he said.
"I am proud of my girls as they worked hard. I had to field a lot of young players as we have five injured. We had our chance today, but we missed the penalty and three or four more opportunities that could have made our opponents nervous."
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