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Champions League: Potsdam follows Lyonnais for a 2010 Final rematch

By Olaf Goldbecker

The second semifinal of the Champions League took place today between German sides Turbine Potsdam and FCR Duisburg, the trophy winners of the two previous seasons. Potsdam started the home game with the advantage of a 2-2 draw on the road, and after today’s 1-0 victory, Potsdam will join Lyonnais in the Champions League final.

Duisburg was forced to play offensively. Both teams tried to attack and did not rely on the defense. It was Potsdam that was having the more promising situations and also the first real opportunity in the 12th minute. Anja Mittag received the ball near the right corner of the box line. Despite being under pressure of two defenders, FCR keeper Christina Bellinghoven rushed out of her goal, which enabled Mittag the opportunity to lift the ball over her, but she did not place the ball well enough to make it drop behind the goal line.

After about half hour, Potsdam had further opportunities. First, Viola Odebrecht was in good shooting position, but directly aimed at Bellinghoven. Short after, Bellinghoven underestimated a Bajramaj corner kick that hit the crossbar. Potsdam was having the better chances, but Duisburg did not hide in a game in which they openly said would be very crucial for the club’s future.

The Champions League finalists get a bonus of 200.000 Euro – money the club can very well need, otherwise they might need to sell players. The most dangerous scene for Potsdam’s goal in the first half happened by an own defender. A harmless free kick would have landed in Anna Sarholz’s arms, but Inka Wesely jumped up for the header and forced Sarholz to react and tip the ball over the bar.

Straight afterwards, Potsdam scored to take the lead in the 40th minute. Viola Odebrecht won a header against Simone Laudehr after a long throw in, while unmarked Yuki Nagasato reached the ball first to give her team a deserved 1-0 advantage.

At the beginning of the second half, Duisburg kept the game more open, but did not create scoring chances. It took until the 66th minute until it got dangerous again. Anja Mittag was in excellent scoring position, but aimed at Bellinghoven. Now, Potsdam had more and more counter attacking opportunities. Only one minute later, Isabel Kerschowksi missed a cross from an excellent position. Then, Bajramaj’s shot was stopped by the keeper and Odebrecht’s rebound shot was saved. Bellinghoven, who was very insecure in the first half, now turned out to be Duisburg’s best player.

Four minutes before the end Bajramaj – who is expected to be the next one who announces her transfer to Frankfurt tomorrow – paced away in a one on one situation and also was stopped by the FCR keeper, as well as Yuki Nagasato in stoppage time. A bit later, Bellinghoven was already beaten, but Wensing headed the ball out.

At the end Potsdam, did not have to care about the wasting of their chances, they clinched a highly deserved 1-0 win. Duisburg tried a lot, but they did not have anything to add after 60 minutes, and even before they were unable to create chances. It was symptomatic for Duisburg that the only real chance was a header by a Potsdam defender to the own goal.  Turbine Potsdam will now face Olympique Lyonnais in London’s Craven Cottage on May 26 in a rematch of the 2010 final, which the German side won after penalty kicks.

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