By Nik Brumsack
Laura Harvey will urge her team to make home advantage count when they take on FFC Turbine Potsdam in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League last-16 clash at Meadow Park on Thursday.
After easing past Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the last round, Harvey’s team now face a Potsdam side that won the tournament in 2010, and are current German champions.
The Ladies boss is aware of the stiff test the Germans will pose, and she wants her team to start positively.
“I think the home and away legs will prove different tasks,” Harvey told Arsenal.com. “At home, we have to be really brave and bold. We’ve got to push ourselves to get a positive result.
“We know that when we go away from home, it’s very difficult to win games. The home game is such a massive opportunity. It will be a really good indicator of where we are as a group and I think being at home first is something we can use as a positive.
“Last season we were at home in the first leg of the semi-final [against Frankfurt] and we lost. That put us in a really difficult position. I think a positive result, whether that’s a draw or a victory of any sort, would put us into a fantastic position for the away leg. I think if Potsdam have watched us and seen us play, they will be wary of our quality.
“Potsdam are very quick to get the ball forward and have a lot of pace up front. They’re pretty direct in how they play. They put a lot of bodies higher up the pitch, which can cause teams problems.”
After playing six times in just 17 days at the end of the domestic season, the Ladies have now gone three weeks without a match.
“I think it’s actually done us a favour,” said Harvey. “We had a good 10 days break, where some of the girls went off and played for their countries.
“Now we’ve had a really good 10 days of preparing for the game which has meant that we haven’t had to rush our preparations, which sometimes happens because we’re limited on time. We’ve been able to prepare properly and not left any stone unturned ready for Thursday.”
Arsenal could be without Jayne Ludlow for Thursday’s first leg but otherwise Harvey has a full squad available.
Tickets for Thursday’s game, which is being broadcast live on Eurosport from 2pm, are free to under-16sCopyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source