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Kessler's Wolfsburg aim to parry Lyon punch

Having beaten Olympique Lyonnais in the 2010 final, VfL Wolfsburg captain Nadine Kessler says they have a plan to upset the favourites but "don't want to focus on defending alone".

Kessler's Wolfsburg aim to parry Lyon punch
Kessler's Wolfsburg aim to parry Lyon punch ©UEFA.com

She may only be 25 and captaining a side making their European debut – but Thursday's UEFA Women's Champions League final is far from an unknown quantity for Nadine Kessler.

The VfL Wolfsburg midfielder joined in 2011 from 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, where she had won the previous year's European title. In that final in Getafe they beat Olympique Lyonnais, the very club Wolfsburg encounter at Stamford Bridge two years on.

Since then Lyon have beaten Potsdam and 1. FFC Frankfurt in consecutive showpieces to establish themselves as Europe's predominant force – but Kessler is ready for them. "We have analysed our opponents very well, and we know they are really strong," she told UEFA.com.

"But Lyon also have their weaknesses. We will try to find them, and above all, act like a team; I think that will be key. We don't have star players like Lyon, but I think that if we play very compact and set ourselves up in a compact way, then we still have a chance and we certainly want to take advantage of that."

Therefore Wolfsburg will be keeping things tight. "I still haven't heard about the tactics from our coach, but I think that we will be set up in a very compact way, and perhaps position ourselves more defensively, but we still don't know exactly," Kessler said. "But of course we want to create chances as well, and play some good football, to attack and score goals. So it should not be a one-sided game, and we don't want to focus on defending alone."

Up until a fortnight ago, Wolfsburg had never won a major title, but since then they have completed the German double. Claiming the Frauen Bundesliga title and then the German Cup, both at Potsdam's expense, has given Wolfsburg extra confidence.

"We are very happy and relaxed," Kessler said. "It might sound a bit weird to say that before a Champions League final, but it really is the case. It will be a great honour to play here. We will give all we have left and the two trophies we have won already help a lot.

As will the incentive of playing at Stamford Bridge. "It is incredibly nice," the Germany midfielder said. "This is exactly how I imagined it. I love English stadiums, they have a lot of football flair. The spectators are right there, close to the pitch."

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