Nadine Kessler pinpointed VfL Wolfsburg's resilient back line as key to their quarter-final triumph against FC Rossiyanka, who reflected on a tough campaign full of pride.
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A fine defensive display laid the sturdy foundations for VfL Wolfsburg's 2-0 UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final second leg success at FC Rossiyanka according to midfield linchpin Nadine Kessler. The 24-year-old also attributed the 4-1 aggregate victory to a steadfast commitment to hard work and declared herself "extremely happy" at the prospect of a semi-final showdown with Arsenal LFC next month.
Rossiyanka coach Achim-Matthias Feifel was magnanimous in defeat, and like Kessler, paid tribute to Wolfsburg's obstinate defiance, while pragmatic goalkeeper Elvira Todua conceded that "the strongest team always wins".
Achim-Matthias Feifel, Rossiyanka coach
When we look back at both matches, you have to say congratulations to the stronger team who are in the semi-finals. My team tried very hard today and gave as much as they could against Wolfsburg. I said to the players that they can leave the dressing room with their heads held high as we gave it our all, but it wasn't enough against such a strong opponent.
Wolfsburg have the best defence in the German league, and it's difficult to create chances against such strong players. We wanted to use our wide players more as we knew all about how strong Wolfsburg are in the middle. However, we weren't able to get past the last defender and create problems for them.
Elvira Todua, Rossiyanka goalkeeper
The girls gave everything they could out there but unfortunately things didn't work out the way we wanted. This won't get us down; we will try our best again next year. This is football and the strongest team always wins. Maybe we just need a little bit of time to try and tackle the next hurdle.
Nadine Kessler, Wolfsburg midfielder
We are extremely happy to be playing Arsenal in the semi-finals, and tonight was a really tough match against Rossiyanka. We said to ourselves that we wanted to put in a very strong defensive performance and I think this was the key. We never stopped going and managed to create plenty of chances and we were always confident of scoring.
We believed we would win and you could see that until the end. We trained a lot before the season and I think the hard work has paid off. We had to be prepared for three challenges, the German League, cup and the Champions League; you have to be physically strong to maintain it.
Anna Blässe, Wolfsburg midfielder
It was a very hard game and in the first half we had to fight a lot as Rossiyanka were tactically astute. However, we won and we are very happy. I thought the Rossiyanka goalkeeper was very good and excellent in the air. But even before the game, we knew we would be in for a tough evening and a hard fight.