Much to my excitement, the attempt was succesful, thanks to an unexpected brief flare by the spacecraft due to a reflection of sunlight from probably one of it's solar panel covered sides. I observed the flare visually, estimated it at about mag. +2.5. It shows up well on photograph, the trail fading in and out. Below is the image, shot with a Canon EOS 450D + EF 50/2.5 Macro @ 800 ISO:
GOCE (Gravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation Explorer) is a European satellite with the purpose to map the earth's gravity field in high detail. Read more about it on the ESA website here.