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Mjelde hopes for more Potsdam heroics

Scorer of the penalty that knocked out Olympique Lyonnais, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam's Maren Mjelde previews their tie with ASD Torres CF and recalls her Gerland glory.

Potsdam defender Maren Mjelde
Potsdam defender Maren Mjelde ©Sportsfile

Olympique Lyonnais had not lost a home game for more than seven years when Norway right-back Maren Mjelde stepped up to take a 73rd-minute penalty for 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in their UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 second leg in November.

Potsdam had previously equalised on the night having lost the home leg 1-0; Mjelde coolly converted and Turbine went on to win on away goals, ending Lyon's bid to reach a fifth straight final. Two-time champions Potsdam now face ASD Torres CF, visiting Sardinia for Sunday's first leg, and 24-year-old Mjelde – signed at the start of 2013 from Arna-Bjørnar – looked ahead to the tie with UEFA.com and also looked back to that dramatic night at Stade de Gerland.

UEFA.com: You got here by beating Lyon with your penalty; how do you reflect on that game now?

Maren Mjelde: For me personally, it was maybe my biggest game. Also for the first [home leg] against Lyon, I thought: "OK, I've never played against such a good club team." So for me it was really a cool experience, because now you got to play against big stars and maybe the world's best club. And then we lost 1-0 at home, but we felt we had a really good game against them at home. And then we went to Lyon thinking: "OK, we can do it, we only need two goals." Of course nobody believed that we could do it. I was a bit concerned, but of course you always have to believe that you can win.

They scored really early in the game, and they had a lot of pressure on us; I was afraid they were going to score more goals in the first 15 minutes. But then we scored from a corner kick, and then we went to the half-time break at 1-1. And then we just said: "We need one goal, it's the only thing we need."

Then we got a penalty and, yes, I was glad I got the chance to take it, because we hadn't had any penalty kicks [in 2013] with Potsdam, so [coach Bernd] Schröder told me he wanted me to take the first penalty, and then: "OK, I will do it."

I just remember 9,000 people were booing me, I couldn't hear the referee blowing the whistle, and I just had to ask: "Did you blow the whistle?", and she said: "Yes, come on." And then, yes, I was a bit nervous, but I had a good feeling ... And then we just had to defend as well as we could in the last, I think, maybe 15, 20 minutes left of the game. And we defended so well, so it was a really good experience, maybe the best thing I have ever experienced with a club team before.

UEFA.com: How do you rate Torres?

Mjelde: I didn't know so much about Torres before. I know they are a good team, they obviously are because they are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. But we need to be as good as we were against Lyon and then I think we can – of course, we should – beat them, and then anything can happen.

UEFA.com: How much have you enjoyed your stay in Germany so far?

Mjelde: It's really good. I knew I was going to a big club with a lot of history; they have won the German league many times and then also the Champions League. So I knew I was going to a really big club. And I'm not so used to winning things: in Norway I played with a young club, with young players, and we only got a bronze medal in the league. But now I have come to Potsdam and they are used to winning things. I feel the whole atmosphere in the club, they are used to winning, and you feel so much stronger when you know you are able to win.

UEFA.com: How would you compare the Frauen Bundesliga with the Norwegian league?

Mjelde: I feel the Bundesliga is better. There's a higher standard in each team. In Norway you have the same sides fighting for the gold or for the medals, but in Germany everybody can take points from each other. That's really cool.

UEFA.com: You have another Norwegian alongside you, Ada Hegerberg ...

Mjelde: She's really good, so talented, she's only 19 this year. And she has everything. She could be one of the best strikers in the world if she wants to.