A substitute for most of FFC Frankfurt's UEFA Women's Champions League run last season, Mandy Islacker ended up making the biggest impact of all with her late winner in the final against Paris Saint-Germain in Berlin.
Ten months on she has not looked back, taking over the attacking role vacated by Célia Šašić for both Frankfurt and Germany, scoring early on her international debut against Russia in October and again three days later versus Turkey in another UEFA Women's EURO 2017 qualifier. Islacker's focus is now back on the club competition where Frankfurt visit Rosengård in the first leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday; she spoke to UEFA.com.
UEFA.com: What did last season's winner mean to you?
Mandy Islacker: As it was a first trophy for me, it was something very special. And to have scored that goal in added time is hard to describe in words. I can remember the situation pretty well. We celebrated in the dressing room, then we went out for dinner and then even on to a club. The next day the celebrations continued at the Römer Square [in Frankfurt].
UEFA.com: Now you face Rosengård in the quarter-finals, what do you think of that tie?
Islacker: Marta plays for Rosengård, and this season [Nataša] Andonova from Potsdam has gone there. So they certainly have a lot of good players. I think it will be a tie where both teams are at the same level. I am looking forward to it and I hope we can decide it in our favour.
UEFA.com: You've already had to play a Scandinavian team before, in your tie with Norway's LSK Kvinner. You won the first leg there pretty comfortably, 2-0, but then in the second leg you ran into difficulties. What went wrong?
Islacker: We weren't fully focused from the off and didn't manage to win the individual battles. And then we conceded two goals. We had chances to score in extra time but just didn't take advantage of those opportunities, but then we managed to settle things in the penalty shoot-out.
UEFA.com: In the 2009/10 season you played in the Champions League for the first time, with Bayern, and you played against Glasgow and Montpellier. If you look back at those matches and the ones today, what has changed in women's football?
Islacker: I think the other European teams have been closing the gap and have become stronger and stronger. That is positive for women's football, it means there are a lot of thrilling matches played at the same level.
UEFA.com: This year you had another great experience, besides the Champions League victory and getting married, which was your debut in the senior national team. How surprised were you about your debut? And would you have thought you would score goals immediately as you did?
Islacker: I wasn't counting on it at all. And getting the chance to immediately play as a starter, that was unbelievable. And then scoring a goal was even nicer.
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