Ladies bid au revoir to Champions League

The She-Wolves’ UWCL journey is over for this season.

The VfL Wolfsburg Ladies bowed out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on Wednesday after losing 4-2 to Olympique Lyonnais in the second leg of their quarter-final (6-3 on aggregate).

Visitors strike early

After a 2-1 reverse in France last week, the She-Wolves’ task was made more difficult when they fell behind to a Dzsenifer Marozsán goal after just eight minutes at a sold-out AOK Stadion. The visitors doubled their lead on the night in the 25th minute when Ada Hegerberg was brought down in the box by VfL goalkeeper Almuth Schult and Finnish referee Lina Lehtovaara awarded a penalty, which Lyon captain Wendie Renard confidently put away. Just like in the first leg, a poor start to the game cost the Green-Whites.

Quick-fire brace offers hope

Unsurprisingly, VfL coach Stephan Lerch made an attacking substitution at the break, bringing on Pia-Sophie Wolter for Claudia Neto. And not long after the restart, the She-Wolves pulled a goal back when Ewa Pajor laid the ball on for Pernille Harder to score from close range (53’). Spurred on, they grabbed an equaliser just three minutes later. Harder was again the goalscorer, with Caroline Hansen providing the assist this time. By now the home fans were out of their seats as “VfL, VfL” rang around the stadium, and it was clear that the players on the pitch were lifted by the atmosphere.

However, that mood was soon crushed by the visitors as Eugénie Le Sommer made it 3-2 on the hour mark, heading in from Amandine Henry’s cross. With the Green-Whites now needing to score three goals in 30 minutes, there was to be no second comeback. Le Sommer had the final say with her second goal of the night on 80 minutes to seal a deserved 6-3 aggregate victory for the French side, who go through to the semi-finals. It’s the fifth year in a row that VfL have been knocked out of the Champions League by a French team.

'The team showed courage'

VfL head coach Stephan Lerch: "First of all, congratulations to Olympique Lyonnais. At the end of the day they deserved it over the two legs. It was a shame for us to concede after just eight minutes, and then they got a second goal, which was a big setback. Of course, the 3-2 put the brakes on things for us. If we'd have kept them at 2-2 for a bit longer, maybe it would have been possible. We didn't win the decisive challenges in the end, though. But the team kept going, and even after the fourth goal they showed real courage."

VfL Wolfsburg: Schult – Maritz, Fischer, Goeßling, Peter – Neto (Wolter 46’), Gunnarsdottir – Hansen (Minde 81’), Harder, Popp – Pajor (Doorsoun 83’)

Olympique Lyon: Bouhaddi – Bronze, M’Bock, Renard, Bacha – Fishlock (Kumagai 81’), Henry, Majri (Cascarino 64’) – Hegerberg, Marozsán, Le Sommer (van de Sanden 83’)

Goals: 0-1 Marozsán (8’), 0-2 Renard (24’ pen), 1-2 Harder (53’), 2-2 Harder (56’), 2-3 Le Sommer (60‘), 2-4 Le Sommer (80‘)

Yellow cards: Neto, Gunnarsdottir / Bronze, Hegerberg

Attendance: 4,445 at AOK Stadion (sold out)

Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (Finland)



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