Linköpings FC secured their first Swedish women's title at the weekend and are already turning their thoughts to their tie with FCR 2001 Duisburg while deposed Umeå IK aim to take out their "hurt" on WFC Rossiyanka.
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Linköpings FC secured their first Swedish women's title at the weekend and are already turning their thoughts to ending FCR 2001 Duisburg's reign as European champions.
In the penultimate round of Damallsvenskan matches, Linköping defeated fellow UEFA Women's Champions League contenders Umeå IK 4-0 on Saturday to halt their rivals' four-year run as titleholders. Petra Larsson's first-half goal was added to by strikes from Jessica Landström and Maria Josefina Karlsson and Kosovare Asllani's penalty, following on from Linköping's 3-1 defeat of Umeå in the cup final earlier in October. The following day Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC lost 1-0 at Djurgårdens IF DFF to confirm Linköping as champions, but now they must focus on Wednesday's round of 16 first leg at Duisburg.
"I hope the players didn't celebrate too much on Sunday," Linköping coach Magnus Wikman told uefa.com. "But if we're ever going to beat Duisburg it's now. It's a great boost to know that we've won everything domestically the past year". However, Wikman knows that their German opponents pose a very tough challenge. "They're a little better at everything than the top teams in Sweden," he added. "Bigger, stronger, mentally extremely confident; I see them as the number one team in Europe at the moment. But at the same time, I would rate ourselves among the top four, so it should be tough even for Duisburg."
Umeå, who will hope a win against lowly Piteå IF next weekend will ensure they join Linköping in next season's UEFA Women's Champions League, also must focus on this term's European campaign as the two-time winners meet WFC Rossiyanka, having landed in Russia on Monday. Coach Mika Sankala said: "It hurts deep in our hearts to lose the league trophy, but hopefully it gives us a desire for revenge and new energy when we play Rossiyanka. We want to prove that we still are a top team in Europe. It's a hugely important match for us."
Their bid to reach a sixth UEFA Women's Cup final last year was ended in the last four by Rossiyana's Russian rivals Zvezda-2005, and Sankala said: "They're equally strong and they play a similar type of football. They're both physically very strong teams who aim to wear down their opponents."