After completing a century of international goals earlier this month, Italy and ASD Torres CF forward Patrizia Panico is targeting another celebration when her club tackle 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam for a place in the last four of the UEFA Women's Champions League.
However, the 39-year-old, who has registered twice in this season's competition, is taking nothing for granted against a "European powerhouse" in Sunday's home first leg, Potsdam having underlined their credentials by ousting Olympique Lyonnais in the round of 16. Panico also discussed the prospect of reaching May's Lisbon showpiece, and latest recruit Hallbera Gísladóttir.
UEFA.com: Congratulations on your recent milestone with the national team. Now you have another ambition?
Patrizia Panico: It's a very important match, but not only for me – it's important for our club and the entire women's football movement in Italy. These kind of games are always special and we have to enjoy the moment.
UEFA.com: Can Torres defy the odds and beat Potsdam?
Panico: They are certainly favourites, so we are hoping they have a bad day against us. Their results and history make them clear favourites. The fact they eliminated a team like Lyon shows they have a very bright future. They are a European powerhouse and we know it will be very difficult.
UEFA.com: Potsdam may not have as many German internationals as they used to, but they have a young, talented squad.
Panico: They have the right mix of youth and experience which makes them a very dangerous side. After all, the German national team have several young players at the moment and they are still strong. Potsdam have young players who play regularly at international level and that is very important.
UEFA.com: Who is the most dangerous player?
Panico: I would say Julia Simic. She is very good and we'll have to be very careful against her.
UEFA.com: How have Torres improved in recent years?
Panico: Despite several problems we have managed to remain at the top in Italy and we're always the team who goes furthest in Europe. We have been consistent and thorough in our preparation, and the results have come.
UEFA.com: How can new signing Hallbera Gísladóttir improve the team?
Panico: She is a typical player from northern Europe. Her physical strength can be very useful, both in our domestic league and Europe.
UEFA.com: How special is the UEFA Women's Champions League?
Panico: The Champions League title is one of the few things missing in my career, so reaching the final is a dream. We know it will be difficult but it's something we should look forward to and enjoy.
UEFA.com: How important are these games in terms of experience for a team like yours?
Panico: These games help you grow, but only if you approach them in the right spirit. I'm sure we will, though, because we always take to the pitch with the right mentality, regardless of who we're facing.
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