By Joe Brewin
“We are used to fighting it out. We never make things easy for ourselves so for us to have to go to Frankfurt and actually go for it is maybe something we are better at.”
Laura Harvey knows her side face a daunting task to progress to May’s Women’s Champions League final. But the Ladies manager is confident that her much-improved team has what it takes up upset the odds.
Kerstin Garefrekes’ winner with the last kick of a cruel first leg means Frankfurt hold an valuable one-goal advantage going into Saturday’s second leg in Germany.
Until Sunday, Sven Kahlert’s side had yet to win away in the competition this season. It is a factor Harvey believes may well play into her side’s hands as the hosts seek to protect their slender lead.
“Maybe the fact they have the lead going into the second leg is the turning point,” she told Arsenal.com. “They may take their foot off the pedal because they have something to hang onto, which they have never had before.
“It is a different proposition for them. I think that Frankfurt are just relatively consistent. Even when they have lost away from home it has never been by more than the odd goal and usually manage to keep it tight when they take people back to Germany.
“But we have regrouped. We had a good training session on Wednesday night and we have a couple more before the game to try and make sure we can put everything right in preparation for Saturday.”
With Lyon having dispatched Potsdam 5-1 in last weekend’s other semi-final first leg, a final showdown against the talented French outfit looks to be the prize at stake for Arsenal or Frankfurt.
Arsenal’s Champions League dream was shattered by Lyon in last season’s semi-finals but Harvey believes an intelligent performance in Frankfurt could see her side set up a prestigious rematch in Munich.
“We have to be clever in how we go about it and work very hard when we don't have the ball,” she said. “But when we do we have to try and cause as many problems as we can.
“The biggest thing in European football is making sure you have a chance going into the second leg. We have done that, and although we are disappointed with the 2-1 defeat we are definitely still in the game.
“That means we have to score two goals at least and we have an objective of how we are going to do that. We have to keep plugging away and playing our football, which will hopefully see us win the tie.
“I think when you get to this stage of the competition there are tight margins of error with every club. We thought last year that we did OK against Lyon and maybe their result against Potsdam on Sunday showed that what we did last year was strong.
“We feel that we have come a long way since then. The teams in the final four are all good sides but Frankfurt are definitely beatable, as is everybody.”
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