One of the top two sides in women’s football in Europe – for the fourth time, following appearances in 2013, 2014 and 2016, VfL Wolfsburg have reached the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. In the semi-final return-leg on Sunday, the Lady-Wolves beat Chelsea Ladies FC 2-0 (0-0). Having already taken a 3-1 victory back from London in the first-leg, Pernille Harder (69') and Ewa Pajor (78') were on target to ensure another victory for coach Stephan Lerch’s side. When the Green-Whites take to the pitch of the Walerij-Lobanowski-Stadio in Kiev on May 24th, in the hunt for their third European title following their previous successes in 2013 and 2014, the final opponents, as was the case in 2013 and 2016, will be Olympique Lyon. The French side booked their spot in the final by progressing past Manchester City. Both teams previously decided one of their previous UWCL final clashes in their favour.
The teams went into the break locked in stalemate, but the Lady-Wolves came out for the second period with all guns blazing – putting together one attack after another. The guests from London could barely take a breath, but initially the Green-Whites were unable to break the deadlock. Hansen (50'), Nilla Fischer (51') and Pajor (51') were all unable to convert excellent opportunities. In the 53rd minute, Pajor had her next chance, but was unable to capitalise on an error by Landahl, who had poorly misjudged the flight of the ball. The Polish international failed to turn the ball into an empty net from a position at the corner-flag (53'). Ultimately, it was once again Harder, who turned the Lady-Wolves superiority into an opener. Cutting in from the left edge of the penalty-area, Harder beat two opponents, before slamming the ball home – 1-0 (69’). The Green-Whites were unwilling to sit back and settle for the one goal, which basically guaranteed their place in the final – pushing instead for a second goal: A cross from Alexandra Popp, found Pajor, who flicked the ball past Landahl at the front post (78’). VfL Wolfsburg were sure of their place in Kiev for the Champions League title, which was honourably acknowledged by the record-crowd in Wolfsburg.
VfL head coach Stephan Lerch: We are overjoyed, to have booked our place in the final. We were prepared for again having to give our all, as we knew Chelsea would throw everything they had into attack in this game too. They immediately looked to put us under pressure. We had to be very alert right from the outset and we were exactly that. My team did the job exceptionally well. They always looked to exploit the places that opened up and get in behind their opponents. That’s how we created the chances we had on goal – we just failed to make effective use of them to take the lead. It was a good and concentrated display. In the second-half it was clear to see that we were capable of maintaining the tempo and putting our opponents under pressure. We were determined to get our goal and, for a period, it was purely one-way traffic. We ultimately rewarded ourselves for our efforts. We are absolutely delighted and are now looking forward to the final against Lyon.
VfL Wolfsburg: Schult – Blässe, Fischer, Goeßling, Maritz (67' Kerschowski) – Gunnarsdottir, Popp – Hansen (72' Jakabfi), Harder, Dickenmann – Pajor (80' Wullaert)
Chelsea LFC: Landahl – Ericssson, Thorisdottir, Bright, Blundell – Bachmann, Mjelde, Chapman – Ji (76' Spence), Aluko (64' Cuthbert) – Kirby (82')
Yellow cards: Maritz / Chapman, Bachmann
Goals: 1-0 Harder (69'), 2-0 Pajor (78')
Attendance: 3,813 on Sunday afternoon in the AOK Stadion
Referee: Olga Zadinova (CZE)