The VfL Wolfsburg Women reached the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the fifth time in the club’s history after beating last year’s runners-up Barcelona 1-0 at the Estadio de Anoeta in San Sebastian in the last four of the finals tournament.
Fridolina Rolfö scored the decisive goal in the 58th minute for the She-Wolves, who were crowned continental champions in 2013 and 2014. The Green-and-Whites will face French opposition in the final, which will likewise take place in San Sebastian on Sunday 30 August (kick-off 20:00 CEST). Paris Saint-Germain and record competition winners Olympique Lyon contest the other semi-final on Wednesday evening.
Rolfö prods home
After a goalless first half, Barcelona very nearly put the ball into their own net early in the second period, before Caroline Graham Hansen had a good opportunity to score at the other end of the pitch a minute later (51’).
It remained a closely fought battle, and although clear moments of quality were few and far between, the sense of tension was palpable throughout. Suddenly, VfL made the breakthrough: Svenja Huth’s cross was only cleared as far as Ewa Pajor, whose overhead kick from close range fell to Rolfö to poke over the line. Barcelona went close to levelling the score three minutes later when Asisat Oshoala’s header flew narrowly over the target, before Mariona Caldentey also fired over just four minutes after that. The match remained on a knife edge and a Barcelona equaliser would not have been undeserved. The Spaniards very nearly pulled level in the 74th minute after Hansen led an attack, only for Jennifer Hermoso to miscue her shot. Pernille Harder had the chance to kill the game off five minutes later following a VfL counter, but she was unable to finish. That set up a nervy finale, in which Kheira Hamraoui had a free sight of goal, but the She-Wolves managed to hold on and book their place in the final.
“A lot of passion and desire”
VfL head coach Stephan Lerch: “It was a very intensive game and we managed to get the result over the line. We’re happy to have won. Barcelona played very well, they made us run a lot and they created a lot of chances in a way we didn’t want to happen. But our team showed what they’re capable of once again. Today it was their fighting spirit that set them apart. The players showed a lot of passion and desire, and worked hard for their place in the final – even with a little bit of luck. We’ll analyse the game in depth now and then look forward to the final.”
VfL Wolfsburg: Abt – Doorsoun, Hendrich, Janssen, Wedemeyer – Engen, Popp (85‘ Popp) – Huth, Harder, Rolfö (68‘ Wolter) – Pajor (77‘ Bremer)
FC Barcelona: Panos – Torrejon, Maria Leon, Pereira, Ouahabi (86’ Martens) – Hamraoui (86‘ Losada) – Hermoso, Putellas (77‘ Guijarro) – Hansen, Oshoala (65‘ Bonmati), Caldentey
Goals: 1-0 Rolfö (58‘)
Referee: Katalin Kulcsar (Hungary)
Yellow cards: Wedemeyer/Caldentey, Torrejon
Wölfe TV: the complete match RE-LIVE
Wölfe TV: All highlights of the match