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After successfully negotiating the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round last month with three wins and 14 unanswered goals, FC Zürich Frauen kick off the round of 32 on Tuesday against France's FCF Juvisy Essonne at the Stadion Letzigrund.
Juvisy, compatriots of holders Olympique Lyonnais, are the favourites but the Swiss champions have in their ranks one of the female game's all-time greats in 33-year-old former Gemany striker Inka Grings. Scorer of a hat-trick in FCR 2001 Duisburg's 2009 final win, and competition top scorer two seasons later, she also claimed three goals in the qualifying round to climb two behind the tournament's all-time leader Hanna Ljungberg on 39.
Grings joined Zürich in summer 2011 with Germany colleague Sonja Fuss and having helped them to the Swiss double last season, she talks to UEFA.com about their – and her – European aims.
Click on the video above to see Grings and team-mate Selina Zumbühl speak about the club.
UEFA.com: Inka, this is your second season at FC Zürich Frauen – how do you look back on the first?
Inka Grings: It was definitely exciting, because I didn't know exactly what to expect. But I think, overall, it was very successful. We became champions, we won the cup, we qualified for the Champions League and I think it was a great start on a sporting level. And on top of that I have met wonderful people, a great young team in which it's a real pleasure to play football. That is why I am very happy I have the opportunity to play here one more season.
UEFA.com: What are your expectations ahead of the Juvisy tie?
Grings: Of course it will be very difficult. They are a great team, I have studied them. They have a lot of experienced players, including current or ex-internationals, so they have the experience. And that can be decisive in a game. But we will do everything to impose ourselves. We want to be in a good position after the home [first] leg. It is possible we will need both games to do it. We will work, focusing on that. I think it will be very interesting, and again, we want to put ourselves in a good situation after our home game.
UEFA.com: What do you have to do to achieve that?
Grings: It is very important to start the game with full confidence. We must be courageous. We must try to play good football, we are able to do that. I think that will be the most decisive aspect for us. If we go into the game with a lot of confidence, then we stand a very good chance. Because we have a good team, and confidence will be decisive in how we play the game.
UEFA.com: Does being within two goals of Hanna Ljungberg's record give you motivation?
Grings: Yes, I would be lying if I told you otherwise. Of course I have been told about it – I didn't know that before. But I have two games to do it and that is an incentive for me. I am a striker, and that is how you are judged [on goals]. But the team comes first. If the team plays well, I am convinced that I can definitely score.
UEFA.com: Will Zürich be the last stop in your career? Or have you not given it any thought yet, because you're saying to yourself: "I will play as long as I am enjoying it"?
Grings: Yes, basically, yes. I am the kind of person who takes it year by year. I feel very good, I am fit, I am at peak fitness again, and that is why it's still a lot of fun to play. We will see how it goes from here.
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