Glasgow City head coach Scott Booth says his players are in for a tough night at Petershill Park as they defend a 2-0 lead from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Brondby.
If they prevail they will reach the quarter-finals for only the second time but the Danes, who have reached the semi-finals on three occasions, are the seeded side.
Brondby had been expected to build up an advantage in Copenhagen but, instead, resolute defending restricted them to just five attempts on target, while both the City goals were credited to players from the home side.
Booth said: “We rode our luck at times over there and we also defended fantastically well to stop this team scoring.
“We know what their threat is, and we know where it comes from, so we’ll do our utmost to ensure that is nullified.
“We also have that ability, as we did over there, to hurt them at times in possession going forward. I would say our chances of qualifying are probably 55-45 if I’m being honest.”
The home side will be without suspended Scotland midfielder Leanne Crichton, pictured right. The 32-year-old was booked for a second time in the tournament at Brondby Stadium. Booth added: “She is going to be a really big miss. She’s such an integral part of the way we play. Leanne is a leader, has masses of experience, and can be a calming influence.
“She’s also feisty when she needs to be, and pops up with important goals. But we still have a very good starting eleven – and players on the bench who are eager to get involved in a match of this magnitude.”
City have won all 19 SWPL1 games this season and need just to win the remaining two against Celtic and Motherwell to post a perfect record.
Former Hibernian right back Rachel McLauchlan strengthened what was already a formidable side when she joined from former FA WSL side Yeovil Town in the summer.
“She was outstanding against Hibs on Sunday,” Booth pointed out. “Rachel defends like her life depends on it. She gets forward with great enthusiasm and can run all day.
“She’s really sharp, very, very tenacious and has a good head on her shoulders. She’s just an excellent player.”
Booth says it is vital not to concede an early goal. City came back from Moscow with a 1-0 lead against Chertanovo in the last 32, but that was wiped out within only three minutes. The 13-time Scottish champions still won 5-1 on aggregate – but a similarly early conceded goal against Kazygurt in 2017-18 cost them the tie on away goals.
“It’s really important we don’t do it again,” Booth confirmed. “We have to be completely switched on right from the first whistle.
“You always say that, but we really have to make sure we don’t give Brondby any encouragement early on.”
The Danes are strongest when going forward, with their main attacking threats being Nanna Christiansen, who has over 100 caps for her country, and Nicoline Sorensen. Manager Per Nielsen, a former defender who spent his entire career with the Brondby men’s side and played for Denmark, said: “We had expected to perform better and on a higher level, because if you don’t you can lose to any team at this stage of the Champions League.
“Of course we believe we can win the second game, but we need to step up. It requires a much better performance controlling the ball, playing faster and therefore playing the game on our terms.”