Recently crowned UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe, Nadine Kessler tells UEFA.com the VfL Wolfsburg team she captains can secure a unique hat-trick this term.
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No team has ever won Europe's premier women's club competition three years running but, with Nadine Kessler as captain, anything is possible for VfL Wolfsburg.
Having never lifted a major trophy before 2012/13, Wolfsburg have triumphed in both the UEFA Women's Champions League and the Frauen Bundesliga two seasons on the trot, and Germany midfielder Kessler's displays earned her the title of UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe for 2013/14 in Monaco a few weeks ago. As Wolfsburg begin their European trophy defence at Norway's Stabæk Fotball in the first leg of the round of 32 on Wednesday, with the aim of reaching the final in Berlin, UEFA.com speaks to Kessler (who is set to be out on Wednesday injured).
UEFA.com: What does it mean to have been named Best Player in Europe?
Nadine Kessler: It is something really special. To be honest I didn't even dream about it. It was a surprise for me. I had some great competitors, or more precisely, team-mates [fellow nominees Nilla Fischer and Martina Müller of Wolfsburg]. But I am simply over the moon.
It's a great thing to have experienced this event [in Monaco], to understand how an event like this works. To be invited here, into this environment, was huge.
It is an award that gives me confirmation that I have done everything right, that I worked really hard. It shows I was on the right track. In the end, of course, it is only possible with good team-mates around you in order to develop in such a way. That was the case with Wolfsburg and with the national team.
UEFA.com: What would you say went right for you last season so you were able to win this award?
Kessler: Last season was a real battle for us as a team, we needed to work really hard. On a personal level it was the same situation as the one facing the team. By the end of the season we were really strong and we managed to turn around every competition [we played in]. I think especially in those games I was at my best.
UEFA.com: What can we expect from Wolfsburg this time?
Kessler: What you can expect from Wolfsburg is that we will once again give everything to defend the Champions League and to be competitive in three competitions.
We have a great team with great new players and the atmosphere is great. I am very optimistic.
UEFA.com: What are the chances of Wolfsburg doing another European-German double?
Kessler: It is hard to say. At European level things are changing fast, Paris Saint-Germain, Rosengård, Lyon have something to show as well. And let's not forget our German rivals too. You need to be lucky in the draw, of course, but we are optimistic.
UEFA.com: It would be great to play the final in Germany ...
Kessler: We want to go to Berlin, Berlin is our objective. It would be almost like a home game as it's not too far from Wolfsburg. It would be huge to compete in a third consecutive final and in Germany.