Sjögren states Linköping ambition

Linköpings FC have been in the shadow of Swedish rivals recently but coach Martin Sjögren says they have a great chance against Brøndby IF of making the last four.

Linköping coach Martin Sjögren
Linköping coach Martin Sjögren ©

Linköpings FC may not have made the same splash this season as compatriots FC Rosengård but it could well be them that fly the Swedish flag alone in the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals.

Damallsvenskan champions Rosengård are many people's tip for the European title, with the likes of Marta, Anja Mittag and Ramona Bachmann in their cosmopolitan squad. Yet while they must face holders VfL Wolfsburg in the toughest of quarter-finals, Linköping take on Denmark's Brøndby IF on 22 and 28 March.

Danish leaders Brøndby are no easy pickings, but Linköping have eliminated two strong teams already in English champions Liverpool LFC and former finalists WFC Zvezda 2005. Coach Martin Sjögren exuded confidence when he discussed the tie with

On facing Brøndby ...
I think it's a good draw for us. It could have been worse – not to be disrespectful to Brøndby, but it could have been much worse for us. My colleague from Sweden [Rosengård coach Markus Tilly], he is not so happy! But we each said before [the draw] that we didn't want to get a Swedish team, because for Swedish football we think it's better if we are kept apart at this stage.

I think we have a pretty good chance. When we start it's 50-50, I would say, but I think we have a good chance to go through to the next round. Still, Brøndby are a good team that are more experienced than we are at this stage.

Fridolina Rolfö's last 32 hat-trick saw off Liverpool
Fridolina Rolfö's last 32 hat-trick saw off Liverpool©FilipOskarsson

On having the first leg at home ...
It doesn't really matter to play the first leg home or away. When we played Liverpool in the round of 32 we started away and we had a few difficulties but then we had a good game at home; and when we beat Zvezda we started at home and had a brilliant game at home and then we had a really poor game away.

Now travelling is so easy there are no long trips any more – we can even take a train to Brøndby, in four hours we will be there. It is an easy trip, it is like playing [Rosengård in] Malmo away in the league. Then we have artificial turf and Brøndby play on natural grass so that will be something we have to prepare for.

On a semi-final against 1. FFC Frankfurt or Bristol Academy WFC ...
I think Frankfurt are the big favourites, of course. We played the other English team Liverpool in the round [of 32] and looking into the results in the league, Liverpool are quite a lot stronger than Bristol, so I would say Frankfurt will go through to the semi-finals. Hopefully we will and we will definitely give them a good match in the semis.

On the Linköping squad ...
We have a young team, it is under development. I think we have had some really good games this season, but we have also had some not-so-good games. So we need to be more consistent at a high level and we are definitely going to add a little bit extra now the transfer windows is open [goalkeeper Wendy Andersson has already joined]. I am quite sure we will be a little bit better and I am really looking forward to it. And it is a real motivation to look forward to March.