Røa IL goalkeeper Caroline Knutsen faces familiar opposition in quarter-final first-leg hosts 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam but the Norwegian visitors have had to deal with the loss of key players.
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Two teams short of competitive action will be looking to hit the ground running when 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam take on Røa IL in their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Potsdam won a German indoor tournament in January but bad weather since the winter break has restricted them to just one league game, a 4-0 win at SC Freiburg on 20 February, while Røa's Norwegian campaign is yet to begin.
Turbine have a good record against Nordic opposition this season, knocking out FC Honka Espoo and Brøndby IF, but long-serving coach Bernd Schröder believes it will be no formality for the 2004/05 UEFA Women's Cup winners against the Norwegian champions.
"We may have a small advantage as we are playing at home, but we are not the the favourites," Schröder said. "I know Norwegian football very well. They are maybe stronger than they give themselves credit for. We will have to display all our skill to go through to the semis."
It will be a familiar venue for Røa goalkeeper Caroline Knutsen, who regularly came to Potsdam to visit compatriot Leni Larsen Kaurin before her January switch from Turbine to 1. FFC Frankfurt. "In 2007 I trained with [Potsdam] and even had an offer," Knutsen said. "Personal reasons kept me in Norway."
Knutsen remains friends with many Turbine players including fellow goalkeeper Desirée Schumann. "Several Potsdam players have already teased me and said they want to score against me," Knutsen added. "I will do everything to prevent that from happening."
Røa coach Geir Nordby has had to deal with the loss of Camilla Huse to retirement since the autumn elimination of Everton LFC and Zvezda-2005 while Marie Knutsen is on maternity leave. "The squad is a little on the thin side," Nordby said. "The team has made some progress during the winter, but I am not sure if the team will hit top form in the first competitive match of the year. The aim is, of course, to reach the semi-finals. We are here because we deserve it, and can't say that the match is lost before it has been played."
Key striker Lene Mykjåland, though, is available for her two last matches before departing for Washington Freedom. "I aim to go out on a high," she said. "It will be two tough matches, but we have knocked out two good teams in the previous rounds."