Patient Schumann ready to take her chance

On the bench for 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in the last two finals, Desirée Schumann is set to start for 1. FFC Frankfurt on Thursday and has her sights set on an "immense opportunity".

Desirée Schumann is getting her time in the limelight
Desirée Schumann is getting her time in the limelight ©Sportsfile

For the last two years Desirée Schumann has watched the UEFA Women's Champions League final from the bench as her old club 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam first beat Olympique Lyonnais in 2010, then 12 months ago lost to them. This time in Munich, though, Schumann will start for new club 1. FFC Frankfurt against Lyon due to Nadine Angerer's knee injury and she is champing at the bit. Desi, there's an expression that says, 'One person's joy is another one's suffering' ...

Desirée Schumann: First of all, you never wish such an injury on anybody. And of course not to Natze [Angerer] either; nobody expected that it would be such a serious one. But of course I have an immense opportunity. I want to prove myself in every game, and I want to use these games to show what I can do for the national team, but also to show the team and the club that they have the right replacement in goal. After twice being on the bench for the final is this a dream come true?

Schumann: Of course. I am looking forward to it, I think you can see it from my smile! I am looking forward to the final against Lyon. I have already played twice against Lyon: one defeat, one win. Unfortunately I was on the bench, but it is the objective of every sportsperson to be on the pitch for a game, and not just during training. It is very special that I will be starting the game. It is the best you can achieve at club level, and as a team we're very proud and very much looking forward to playing in this final. What was the experience of winning in 2010 like?

Schumann: It was a great event to win the Champions League with Potsdam. I love football because it's a team sport, but everyone knows that I would have loved to be on the pitch, and it wasn't the case. Looking back, it was a very formative event. I had to bite my lip, but I had a lot of people around me that supported me. But I must admit it was an incredible feeling to be a Champions League winner; I was very proud to be part of that team.

I picked up many positives from it, because I didn't play in that game, someone else was under the spotlight, even though I had played as No1 before that. But there are situations in life where you have to bite your lip. Some people just look down, but as I said, I picked up many positives from that situation, and I don't regret it, and I am very proud to have been a Champions League winner. As a goalkeeper, do you prepare yourself for individual players?

Schumann: I don't think you can pick someone out from Lyon, because they are unbelievably strong as a team, and especially up front. [Élodie] Thomis, who will be suspended, she is really fast, you notice that as a keeper. Everyone knows Lotta Schelin's qualities. I think I will go through specific situations with the goalkeeping coach, and prepare myself as well as possible. I don't think it's useful to look at one player in particular, but rather the attack as a whole, and more particularly the set-plays and how they move. That's important. Women's goalkeepers have sometimes been criticised. Do you watch others like Lyon's Sarah Bouhaddi to see how you compare?

Schumann: Of course we watch other goalkeepers, it is good for your own game to observe. What the overall quality is, I cannot say; even for Sarah Bouhaddi, though I know her from the past two finals and I know her qualities as well. I think it is important to focus on myself and not concentrate on others. I think goalkeeping itself has developed in recent years, whether it's in men's or women's football. A goalkeeper is being asked to do a lot more from the attacking aspect, which wasn't the case in the past. It was enough to stop the ball. Nowadays you are more like an 11th player at the back, who acts as an outfield player that distributes the ball. You can see that it has developed in the last years. Has changing clubs helped you develop?

Schumann: I think it is a mix. Of course when you arrive in a new environment you want to prove yourself immediately. I think that you integrate yourself in the team through your performances. That's normal. Everything is new, the training facilities are new, the balls are new, the infrastructure is new; you really enjoy it, you get some new motivation. It was getting more difficult for me at the end with Potsdam, because I didn't see a future or potential for development. I have started to gain confidence again here in Frankfurt, I have gained a lots of confidence through this environment, and of course through working together with Nadine Angerer and the goalkeeping coach André Wachter. I think that played an important role in my development, and the team's as well.

A full version of this interview is available in the official final programme which is available to buy now.