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Pohlers fires Potsdam to glory

Potsdam 3-1 Djurgården/Älvsjö (agg: 5-1) German side 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam won the UEFA Women's Cup.

By Andreas Alf at Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion

The UEFA Women's Cup will reside in Germany again for at least a year after 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam underlined their superiority over Djurgården/Älvsjö by defeating the Swedish champions 3-1 today to seal a 5-1 aggregate success.

Bragging rights
1. FFC Frankfurt won the inaugural edition in 2002, defeating Umeå IK 2-0 in a one-off final, only for the Swedish side to go one better the following season before retaining it in 2004 with an outstanding 8-0 aggregate triumph against Frankfurt. Bragging rights have returned to the Bundesliga, though, as Petra Wimbersky and two Conny Pohlers strikes ensured Potsdam became the third name to be engraved on the trophy.

Svensson back
Djurgården/Älvsjö coach Mikael Söderman was without three of his most accomplished forwards for last week's 2-0 defeat in Stockholm, yet was able to recall the most prolific of them, Victoria Svensson, as the Sweden striker had recovered from a thigh injury. Anna Hall made way. Sara Johansson was again missing due to her knee injury, as was the cup-tied Laura Kalmari who scored twice for Finland against Scotland last night.

Sell-out crowd
Despite hinting at changes to nullify the returning Svensson, Potsdam coach Bernd Schröder sent out the same eleven players which had performed so heroically in the Swedish capital. A sell-out crowd of 8,664 packed into the Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion, and were celebrating inside two minutes as Navina Ovimalde beat Malin Nykvist in midfield to send Wimbersky in on goal. The Germany striker saw goalkeeper Matja Åström advance but had little trouble slotting in the opener.

Pohlers strike
Djurgården/Älvsjö were still attempting to establish a foothold in the game when Pohlers doubled her side's lead in the eighth minute. Anja Mittag created the goal by embarking on a solo run which resulted in the forward curling a cross into Pohlers who headed her 13th goal in European competition this season. The scoreline may have suggested the tie was over, yet Djurgården/Älvsjö sought an immediate way back into it by pushing Kristin Bengtsson and Venus James up front alongside Svensson.

Hope for visitors
It was a tactic which paid dividends inside 120 seconds as Bengtsson made amends for missing a number of fine chances in the first leg by firing in a shot from 18 metres which Potsdam goalkeeper Nadine Angerer could only palm into her net. The match was proving a tremendous advert for top-class women's football with both sides pushing forward whenever the opportunity arose.

Tremendous advert
Mittag was perhaps the brightest of the stars on show as Djurgården/Älvsjö struggled to cope with the talented forward's industry and vision, typified by a move in the 18th minute when she again created a goal for her Germany colleague Pohlers, who gratefully scored from six metres. Pohlers could have completed a memorable first-half hat-trick as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close, only for Åström to somehow claw away her scuffed effort from just centimetres away.

European champions
Mittag twice went close to scoring herself from range before Pohlers' attempt to flick in her side's fourth dropped just over. With a shade over 20 minutes remaining Wimbersky struck the crossbar and Åström produced two superb saves to deny Pohlers and Mittag. The crowd united to acclaim Pohlers when she went off in the 75th minute, and a quarter-of-an-hour later were doing so again to applaud the new champions of Europe.