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Potsdam in the driving seat

Djurgården/Alvsjö 0-2 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam The German side take a step towards the European crown.

By Andreas Alf at Stockholms stadium

Germany's 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam took a giant step towards the European crown by defeating Swedish champions Djurgården/Alvsjö 2-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Women's Cup final in Stockholm.

Strong advantage
Potsdam's individual talent shone through in an exciting, attacking match which was won by goals from German internationals Conny Pohlers on 34 minutes and Anja Mittag eight minutes after the restart. The result puts Bernd Schröder's side in the driving seat ahead of next Saturday's second leg at the Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion.

Contrasting fortunes
The deficit is the latest setback to a Djurgården/Alvsjö team that had to do without key forwards Sara Johansson and Victoria Svensson through injury, as well as the ineligible Finnish international Laura Kilmari who represented Umeå IK earlier in the competition. American Venus James was therefore selected to lead the hosts' attack, while Petra Wimbersky and Britta Carlson returned for the visitors having overcome ankle injuries to leave Potsdam at full strength.

Potsdam impress
It was no surprise then that it was a Potsdam player, Pohlers, who had the first attempt on goal, her deflected effort drifting wide from ten metres. Turbine were indeed dominant in the early stages as James struggled to keep possession up front for the home side against the physically strong Germans.

Bengtsson to the fore
The first threat from Djurgården/Alvsjö came from midfielder Kristin Bengtsson who, played in by Elin Ekblom, found herself with only goalkeeper Nadine Angerer to beat in the eleventh minute, but steered her shot centimetres wide. It was a key moment as, with James struggling, the agile and powerful Bengtsson then switched positions to act as a second striker for the Swedish club. This had a major impact on the game with the hosts taking control and Potsdam growing increasingly impatient at their failure to break down the opposition.

Pohlers strikes
They need not have worried. In the 34th minute, Viola Odebrecht's excellent solo run was stopped in the home penalty area, but the ball fell to Jennifer Zietz on the left wing who crossed to Pohlers to knock in her 12th goal of the tournament. With Bengtsson missing two immediate chances to equalise, Potsdam went in a goal to the good at the interval.

Mittag masterstroke
That advantage was doubled after 53 minutes. Skilful right-winger Mittag escaped the attentions of Jane Törnqvist to approach the penalty box and let fly a fine left-foot strike that gave goalkeeper Maja Aström no chance. Any hopes of an instant reply for Djurgården/Alvsjö were dashed when Bengtsson passed up her fourth goalscoring opportunitiy of the afternoon when one-on-one with the outstanding Angerer, who saved from the Swede.

No way through
Navina Omilade may even have increased the visitors' lead but the midfielder's long-range effort on 84 minutes hit the post. By contrast, for all the home side toiled, they could find no way through the German rearguard - or to compensate for the loss of the sorely missed Johansson and Svensson. Now only a remarkable comeback by Djurgården/Alvsjö can deny Potsdam the title.

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