Holders VfL Wolfsburg believe the biggest crowd of the UEFA Women's Champions League season will be help them pip 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to the final.
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VfL Wolfsburg believe the biggest crowd of the UEFA Women's Champions League season will be the key to them pipping German rivals 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to the final.
Sunday's semi-final second leg has been moved to the VfL Wolfsburg Arena, home of the club's male side, and around 10,000 fans are expected to watch a tie delicately poised at 0-0. Last season Wolfsburg defeated WFC Rossiyanka and Arsenal LFC 2-1 at the Arena on their way to winning the European title at the first attempt, but it will not be easy against a Potsdam team four points ahead of the reigning champions in the German title race. Wolfsburg coach Ralf Kellermann is predicting goals.
"We are really looking forward to this game," Kellemann said. "We hope to have a great crowd and the fans will support us to win this game. There won't be a penalty shoot-out, as both teams will create enough chances to avoid another 0-0."
Though Kellermann – missing midfielders Lina Magull and Zsanett Jakabfi – billed the first-leg result as "dangerous", the players are full of confidence going into the second leg. Captain Nadine Kessler said: "The fans in the stadium will be a like a wall behind us and the whole city will support us."
Forward Alex Popp added: "We will give everything to make sure we go to Lisbon." Sweden defender Nilla Fischer mused: "The key will be to find the right balance between long-range balls and slowing down the game a little bit more than we did in the first leg."
However, Potsdam have won all of their competitive away matches this season in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Women's Champions League, including a stunning 2-1 victory at Stade de Gerland to eliminate the side beaten in last season's final by Wolfsburg, Olympique Lyonnais, in the round of 16. Coach Bernd Schröder is striving to lead Potsdam to a record-equalling sixth final and is looking to their Lyon upset for inspiration.
"It's open," he said. "We lost [1-0] against Lyon at home but still managed to progress, so going to Wolfsburg at 0-0 means that everything is still possible. It will be a good game in the big stadium with a lot of emotions and two teams respecting each other, and I hope the better team will reach the final."
Potsdam captain Stefanie Draws, who paved the way to glory in Lyon with her equaliser, is convinced that her team will prevail due to superior fitness. "We trained hard over the last few weeks and are prepared for another 90 minutes which can make the difference in the second leg."
Norwegian international Maren Mjelde, who converted the penalty that secured progress in Lyon, added: "It's all up to us now. We will need to get a goal then they have will have to score two."
Will miss final if booked
Wolfsburg: Nilla Fischer, Alexandra Popp, Stephanie Bunte, Conny Pohlers
Potsdam: Johanna Elsig, Genoveva Añonma, Nataša Andonova, Antonia Göransson, Tabea Kemme, Pauline Bremer