Glasgow City will travel to Germany to face FFC Turbine Potsdam on the 2nd November in their Women’s Champions League Last 16 clash, before playing host to the Germans a week later at Petershill Park on 10th November.
Ahead of the double header editor Andy Muirhead caught up with Potsdam head coach Bernd Schröder.
City have dominated the Women’s game in recent years and last week lifted their fifth domestic title in a row, and this season reached the Last 16 of the Women’s Champions League, Bernd Schröder said of the Scottish game: “We look at the development of Scottish women soccer over the years and see a very positive development. The results of the Scottish champions Glasgow City LFC underline this development.”
In the last round Potsdam hammered Icelandic side Thor 14-2 on aggregate. However Schröder said that ‘the two matches against the Icelandic team Thór were not a real showing of the team’s potential’ and that when they face Glasgow City that they will ‘have to put a lot into the game’.
When questioned on the team’s key players, Schröder said that the secret to their success was that ‘the team is the star’ and that their success was ‘based upon that principle and on the complete system of their sporting education’.
While UEFA class Glasgow City as an amateur side – a tag that head coach Eddie Wolecki Black hates – Potsdam are a professional side. When questioned on if this would play a major part in proceedings, Schröder said: Our team is a mixture from players, who have an professional contract and – predominantly – players who are students and pupils.
With the games a matter of weeks away, Potsdam have yet to scout City. Schröder said: “We are very interested in getting material of Glasgow City LFC, but we haven’t got any video-sequences of essential and/or key championship-matches of Glasgow City.”
Potsdam’s preparation will be very intensive and concentrated as Schröder testified too, but one issue that Potsdam will take a closer look at is the Petershill pitch, as according to the Potsdam head coach, artificial turf is not common in German football.
The games in Germany and Scotland could not be further apart if anyone tried. Glasgow City league games top around the couple of hundred mark – with them drawing in just under 800 for their last 32 clash against Valur. Potsdam’s average attendance is between 1700 and 2800 per game, according to Nadine Bieneck of Potsdam.
While the Scottish media are gradually becoming interest in the women’s game mainly through the exploits of Glasgow City’s success this year, German football specifically Potsdam have a faithful and loyal fan base according to Bieneck. While the Women’s World Cup brought a whole new group of people to the game, who have taken in the women’s league games for the first time, bolstering attendances in German football.
Each club focus hard on their own media work also, to get the local and national media interested in the women’s game. Something that Glasgow City’s general manager Laura Montgomery has been doing in recent years for City and the Scottish game as a whole. But above all the games, according to Bieneck, have to be attractive with the teams having to practice intensively and hard to produce the goods on the park.
While Potsdam are classed officially as a professional side, Bieneck states that there is a ‘misapprehension that our players are professionals’. She adds: “There are just a couple of players (mainly the foreign players) who live from playing football. All other players go to school, university, have a job or are in education for a job and earn additional money.”
When questioned on what the Scottish game could do to make their game better, Bieneck said: “Give a chance to young talented players, practise hard and intensive, always have the motivation, to give your best and become better. Most important to women soccer is media coverage. So the clubs have to do a good job concerning media work, to be featured in the newspapers, online-magazines, TV and radio etc.”
Check out last season’s Womens Champions League final between FFC Turbine Potsdam and Olympique Lyonnais:
Womens Champions League Last 16
Wednesday 2nd November 2011 – Turbine Potsdam (Ger) v Glasgow City (Sco) – Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion, Potsdam – 5pm KO.
Thursday 10th November 2011 – Glasgow City (Sco) v Turbine Potsdam (Ger) – Petershill Park, Glasgow – 6.05pm KO.
Photos courtesy of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam/Nadine Bieneck