Smisek enjoying role as Frankfurt's 'Grande Dame'

Sandra Smisek may get called 'Grandma' by her team-mates, but 1. FFC Frankfurt's veteran captain for the Munich final assures she is still hungry for silverware.

Sandra Smisek is relishing leading Frankfurt next Thursday
Sandra Smisek is relishing leading Frankfurt next Thursday ©Sportsfile

With regular 1. FFC Frankfurt captain Nadine Angerer injured, experienced midfielder Sandra Smisek will wear the armband in next Thursday's UEFA Women's Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais. The 34-year-old former Germany international speaks about her excitement at the Olympiastadion showdown and explains why she does not mind being called "Grandma". Frankfurt are in a big European final for the first time in a few years. You must be delighted.

Sandra Smisek: Of course. We haven't been playing in Europe for a while. Every athlete loves to compete with the best, and in the club game that means the Champions League. That is why we are very happy to have made it to the final. You personally won the old UEFA Women's Cup twice. Is the competition even more special now it has changed its name?

Smisek: The name itself sounds better as the UEFA Champions League final. Also it's played over one game, whereas it used to be played over two legs. I think it's better to play once. What will be the key to beating Lyon?

Smisek: That's a good question. Lyon are a very good team with top quality players. We're happy that it will be Lyon because we already know 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam from the league. It will be an interesting game, 50-50 I think. Form on the day will decide it, and character – the will to bring the title back home. I will give my all for it to be Frankfurt. Is it an advantage to be playing the final in Germany?

Smisek: Not necessarily. Of course it is nice for us to have a kind of home game. But I don't think Frankfurt would prepare differently if we were playing somewhere else. Maybe there are details that will give us a little advantage, but they will not be decisive ones. Would victory represent a career highlight?

Smisek: Absolutely. It's a long time since we've been here. I don't get so many chances to win trophies these days, and that's why I'm looking forward to it. I stopped playing for the national team in 2008, so I only have my club left. That's why it has a big importance for me personally. Frankfurt's European campaign has been a rollercoaster ride, with away defeats in the first three rounds...

Smisek: From the beginning we faced strong opponents with great skill and it was difficult away from home. But I think it's an advantage to play tough games on the way to a final and to knock out some strong opponents. Lyon will be our toughest opponent yet, but I think we deserve to be in the Champions League final. How does it feel to be wearing the armband in Nadine Angerer's absence?

Smisek: It would be better if Nadine wasn't injured and I didn't have to wear this thing on the pitch. But I am vice-captain so it's normal. I don't mind doing it, someone needs to take over the responsibility. I have been given it and I think I'm doing it quite well. Desirée Schumann will come in to replace Angerer in goal. It's a big test for her, but she's looked assured so far. 

Smisek: Absolutely. She was already impressing a lot in training before Nadine got injured. Whenever she has played she has been very focused. She has a great personality. Schumann has shown us we can trust her despite her young age. You have a very young coach too in Sven Kahlert. What is he like?

Smisek: He's very meticulous and passionate about his role. His coaching team of four are doing a good job and they give us a lot of good and tough sessions. They are putting us on the right track. Frankfurt general manager Siggi Dietrich dubbed you the 'Grande Dame' not long ago. Is that flattering or would you rather not be seen as the old head?

Smisek: I very often get called 'Grandma'. I know it's meant in a nice way and sometimes I get other compliments. I'm the oldest in the squad and I perform well at this level. So if they want to call me that, they can.