Camille Abily will be the first player in the competition's history to register 50 wins if Lyon beat Paris on Sunday; the midfielder spoke to UEFA.com about the semi.
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If Lyon beat Paris Saint-Germain in their UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final first leg on Sunday, Camille Abily will be the first player in the competition's history to register 50 wins.
Still, it will be far from easy. Having reached four straight finals, winning in 2011 and 2012, Lyon went out in the last 16 to Turbine Potsdam in 2013/14 and last season did similarly against Paris, a team they have dominated at domestic level. OL have had the better of Paris so far this season and will be hosting them at the new Stade de Lyon. Abily scored with a stunning bicycle kick in the women's team first game at the venue – the 9-1 quarter-final first-leg defeat of Slavia Praha.
UEFA.com: Are Lyon looking for revenge on Paris for last season?
Camille Abily: It's the semi-final – not the round of 16 like last season. We've played a lot of games since our elimination. We will want to reach the final again: after four consecutive finals between 2010 and 2013, Lyon got used to playing in it, so being knocked out twice in the round of 16 was difficult for us. We really want to qualify this time, but we know it will be very difficult.
UEFA.com: What factors will be decisive in this tie?
Abily: We will need to be efficient. In our first meeting in the [French] league this season, we scored early and won 5-0. If you score the first goal, you know that they will have to open up. In the return game, it was 0-0 – they didn't come out much, and tried to hit us on the counter. These games are never easy, but Lyon tend to have more possession and Paris defend really well, but we know they are strong up front and can cause us some problems.
UEFA.com: How much have Griedge M'bock Bathy and Pauline Bremer improved the team?
Abily: We are getting older [laughs], so it's a good thing to have younger players who are full of enthusiasm and energy. They push us during training, because we had a strong core team but it's a good thing to know that no one's place is certain – we always have to prove ourselves during training.
UEFA.com: In the quarter-final first leg against Slavia you scored a great goal with a bicycle kick. Can you describe it for us?
Abily: A scissor-kick. It was a great evening – it was our first game in the 'Grand Stade', and we won 9-1. It was magical to play there. I tried that bicycle kick and it came off – it went in, so it was good for me and for the team.
UEFA.com: We will have yet another France v Germany final this season; why is it so hard for other leagues to break that stranglehold?
Abily: For a while we've had French-German finals or German-only finals. German and French clubs are investing in women's football – the best players are playing for the best French clubs, Paris or Lyon, or in Germany. In terms of their national teams, France and Germany are the best-performing teams in Europe. Both have directly qualified for the Olympics, and that says a lot. It would have been great to have had a French-only final – at least we would be sure to have a French winner in the end – but the draw decided it differently.
UEFA.com: Your midfield partner Amandine Henry will leave Lyon for Portland Thorns at the end of the season. How much will you miss her?
Abily: I am happy for Amandine, because it's an extraordinary adventure for her. For the team, I would have preferred her to stay. She is a powerful midfielder – she can break the lines with her use of the ball, she can split opposing teams in two. So we will miss her a lot, but we can count on OL to recruit a very good player to replace her.