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Lena Goessling had never won a major senior trophy in her decade-long career at the start of 2013. In the last few months she has claimed every honour going.
Joining VfL Wolfsburg in 2011 when they were looking to join Germany's elite, Goessling helped them come of age last season as they claimed the domestic double and the UEFA Women's Champions League at the first time of asking, the 27-year-old named player of the match in the final defeat of Olympique Lyonnais at Stamford Bridge. Then Goessling, newly-established as a starter, helped inspire Germany's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 success in Sweden, getting herself named in the official all-star squad and coming second in the voting for the UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe Award.
Now Goessling and Wolfsburg have to do it all over again, visiting Estonia's Pärnu JK on Wednesday in the first leg of the round of 32, a tough last-16 meeting with LSK Kvinner FK or FCR Malmö then on the cards. Goessling spoke to UEFA.com about Wolfsburg's triumph, her midfielder partnership with captain Nadine Kessler, and their new campaign.
UEFA.com: In the space of two months you won the UEFA Women's Champions League and UEFA Women's EURO 2013 – how would you compare the wins?
Lena Goessling: I don't think you can compare it. With the club it is the biggest trophy you can win, and we worked very hard for one year. We grew together as a team, we developed, we spent a lot of hours together, we practiced a lot, we experienced a lot together, and I don't think you have the same intensity with the national team. I don't think you can compare the two titles, but they are two great trophies anyway.
UEFA.com: Both were built around your midfield partnership with Nadine Kessler...
Goessling: I've always appreciated having Nadine [around me] – I trust her, I know her runs, I know what she does. We understand each other blindly on the pitch. I am always happy when Nadine is standing next to me, because I know that if I don't get back fast enough she is there for me. It is always enjoyable to play with her.
UEFA.com: You capped the final win against Lyon by being named player of the match – has what you achieved sunk in?
Goessling: You need a bit of time to process what happened. I still cannot really believe it. There hasn't really been a break [since then] – things have kept on going, so I couldn't really switch off. But maybe in one or two years' time I can look back and start to realise what we achieved.
UEFA.com: Last year Wolfsburg were European debutants, now you are holders – will that make things more difficult?
Goessling: I think so – it will be more difficult for us. All teams will want to beat us, all teams will give everything in order to beat us. No one will underestimate us, not even Lyon.
UEFA.com: Your team has changed a bit for the upcoming season...
Goessling: Nilla Fischer is an experienced player – she holds our defence together, and you can see how much experience she brings with her. She helps us in the team – she stabilises our defence. Between Nilla and Desire [Oparanozie] there is a huge age difference, and [Desire] still needs to learn a lot, but I think she is on the right track. I think we will get a lot of satisfaction out of her, because she is a good striker and she always wants to score goals.
UEFA.com: Conny Pohlers became the competition's all-time leading scorer last season – can you tell us a bit about her?
Goessling: Conny is a phenomenon. She is somehow always standing in the right place, always where the ball comes down. She can create a goal opportunity out of nothing. The ball always goes in. That's phenomenal with Conny Pohlers. I don't know how she does it, but it works. On top of that Conny is a very funny person.
UEFA.com: It looks as if she will keep on doing this for the next two or three years?
Goessling: I hope so. She took a break [to play for Washington Spirit in the summer], and I hope she didn't forget how to score goals in America.
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