Women's winners recount final memories

The 11th UEFA women's club final is played on Thursday and Steffi Jones, Hanna Ljungberg, Jayne Ludlow, Annike Krahn, Jennifer Zietz and Lotta Schelin remember their days of triumph.

Jayne Ludlow (left) celebrates Arsenal's surprise 2007 triumph
Jayne Ludlow (left) celebrates Arsenal's surprise 2007 triumph ©Sportsfile

Last year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final marked the tenth edition of European female club competition, producing the sixth different winner. Players from each of those half-dozen sides – 1. FFC Frankfurt, Umeå IK, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, Arsenal LFC, FCR 2001 Duisburg and Olympique Lyonnais – recall their day of triumph.

2002: Steffi Jones
1. FFC Frankfurt 2-0 Umeå IK

I even managed to score a goal in that final, before I then went to the US. It was the first time that we had played in a men's stadium, in a big stadium, and it was raining cats and dogs. It was really very big for us. Something that was normal for the men's teams was for us a real highlight. And then the year after, you have to see that every year it became bigger and bigger, with more spectators. The clubs invested more, trying to really fill up the stadiums, and made real events out of it. And I must say that this Champions League final in general is really something special. It's a great highlight.

2003: Hanna Ljungberg
Umeå IK 4-1/3-0 Fortuna Hjørring

In the final we started with a win at home. Then, in Hjorring, we got an early goal which settled any nerves that we might have had. I remember that I was called to do a doping test after the final whistle, which meant that I missed the beginning of our celebrations! Winning the UEFA Women's Cup had an enormous importance for us. There is something special about being the best in Europe. It meant a lot for the city too ... We won it again the year after. Defending the European title is not easy, which is proven by the fact that no other team has ever managed to do it. But we had a super team and a great organisation around us.

2007: Jayne Ludlow
Arsenal LFC 1-0/0-0 Umeå IK

It was the culmination of a squad of girls who have been together for five or six years. And when you've been together that long and know each other that well, it makes such a difference, as you know people are going to dig in for you and your team-mates will work as hard as they can to get a result. People say we were lucky, but you’ve got to be lucky to win championships and trophies. But we worked hard and we deserved it as well. It was classed as the Marta v Kelly Smith show but unfortunately Kelly missed it due to her ban which she’ll regret for the rest of her life. It is an achievement I would like before I retire to get to another one of those finals. To say you're in the best club team in Europe is the pinnacle.

2009: Annike Krahn
FCR 2001 Duisburg 6-0/1-1 Zvezda-2005

This final was really a great experience that all of us will never forget. It was an incredible success from a sporting point of view; it was our first participation in the UEFA Women's Cup and we eliminated holders Frankfurt and Lyon, another top favourite and then we won the title; none of us could have expected this. I was just a little annoyed that after we won 6-0 in the first leg, the level of our play was not as high in the second leg. It wasn't that important I made it 1-1, more important was the breathtaking crowd in the MSV Arena. As an international you are used to playing in front of a crowd, but it was the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in a club game.

2010: Jennifer Zietz
1. FFC Potsdam 0-0 (7-6pens) Olympqiue Lyonnais

One moment is very clear. When [Anna Felicitas] Sarholz saved the penalty and everybody just started to run towards her. Before the match I said that I definitely wanted to take a ball from the final, and so everyone was running towards there and I started to feel the first cramps in my legs, so I had to slow down and I walked to the penalty area and grabbed the ball. Those are the little moments you remember. Also being in Madrid, which is a beautiful city. We were there the whole week and we even brought the players that couldn't play, that was a real experience for the team, another shared experience together. You can't describe what the game felt like, physically we were gone.

2011: Lotta Schelin
Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam

I think it was an incredible match. We did everything we could, we didn't let them create a lot of chances in front of goal, and we scored twice – the last one was totally fantastic. We were solid, and we played really well, even if the game was sometimes quite open. Maybe we were a bit stressed out at the beginning, maybe it was a little bit of nerves and everything, but at the same time I think we played a good game throughout, all 90 minutes. I can't say anything negative about this game.

A full version of this article can be read in the official final programme, on sale now.