Women’s Champions League final preview: Lyon v Potsdam
More than one Champions League final is taking place in London this week - both are set to be thrillers
Lyon and Potsdam meet in the Uefa Women’s Champions League final for the second successive season on Thursday evening.
The French champions are looking to avenge last year’s agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by their German counterparts in Madrid.
Potsdam have dominated the women’s Bundesliga, winning the title for the last three years.
But Lyon’s success in France stretches back even further, having won five successive championships. A win at Craven Cottage, however, would be the club’s first European title.
Thursday’s showdown will be the final outing for Potsdam playmaker Fatmire Bajramaj and goalkeeper Desiree Schumann.
The pair are set to leave the club after the final to join this year’s Bundesliga runners-up Frankfurt.
Both sides have been prolific in this year’s tournament. Lyon have netted 23 goals with just four conceded, opening their campaign with a 10-1 aggregate win over Dutch side AZ, before an 11-1 win over Russian side Rossiyanka.
Potsdam have been more emphatic on their route to the final, winning 15-0 on aggregate against Aland in the last 32, and 16-0 in the last 16 against Austrian side Neulengbach.
Potsdam coach Bernd SchrÃƒÂ¶der believes both sides have improved since their meeting last year.
“We’ve got stronger, but Lyon have also got much stronger,” said SchrÃƒÂ¶der. “We are very well prepared, in general the quality of the women’s game has improved a lot-that will be good for the fans to see some quality football.”
Lyon coach Patrice Lair is full of admiration for the French side’s opponents, but admits he is determined to become the first French coach to win the Champions League.
“It is a challenge,” Lair told Uefa.com. “The president hired me to win the European Cup. I want to become the first French coach to win the trophy with a women’s team.
“I hope it will be this year; if not, then next. On a personal level, I am in a hurry and would love to win it this year.”
Meanwhile, England manager Hope Powell is the game’s ambassador, and she hopes it will be a thrilling final and will showcase women’s football.
“It shows women’s football is valued and the Women’s Champions League is valued,” she told Uefa.com. “We know that from the outset because we have the two finals in the same week and in the same country.”
“Looking at the final last year, it was a fantastic game,” she added. “I’m just hoping that it’s another great spectacle and that it showcases women’s football for what it is-good skill, good technical ability, a good professional approach. I hope it’s a good game and as dramatic as it was last year.”