Janssen’s journey through time to Eindhoven

An interview with the Dutch defender ahead of the UWCL final.

The countdown has begun! In just two days’ time (Saturday 3 June, kick-off at 16:00 CEST), it will be the Women’s Champions League final in Eindhoven between Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg. Three members of the She-Wolves will be playing on home soil in the final, with one of them being Dominique Janssen. We spoke to the Dutch defender ahead of the most important match of the season and took a look back at her career – and ahead to Saturday’s showdown…

Childhood dream comes true

A total of 381 kilometres separate the AOK Stadion and from the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, a city which Janssen associates with plenty of shopping trips, weekends away and one special memory in particular. “The first time I saw a professional football match was PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadium,” the Netherlands international recalls. Over two decades later, she will be gracing that same turf and fulfilling a childhood dream.

“Slide-tackling the boys”

Up until the age of 18, Janssen played for her local team RKsv Wittenhorst – in the same side as the boys. “That’s usual in Holland and it’s really cool. I got to show how well girls can play and used to slide-tackle the boys,” she grins. In 2013, she made the move up to pro level, with plenty of offers coming in from clubs all around Europe, including Eindhoven. “I trained with the PSV girls but ended up choosing to take a big leap and head over to Germany. Even so, you could say that Eindhoven is part of my sporting career – albeit on a very minor level,” the 28-year-old says.

An (almost) perfect career

Janssen’s trophy cabinet includes the German Bundesliga (2020 and 2022), DFB Cup (2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023), England’s Women’s Super League (2019), League Cup (2015 and 2018), FA Cup (2016) and the Women’s Euro (2017). While this list is as long as it is impressive, one piece of silverware is missing – the most important club competition in Europe. “Every player dreams of winning the Champions League one day,” she says. In her first season in green and white, Janssen came within touching distance of her dream only for VfL to go down 3-1 in the 2019/20 final against Olympique Lyon. “We really should have won that year,” the Dutch international says.

A sell-out for the first time

VfL Wolfsburg Women are in the final of the UWCL for the sixth time, and are about to make history in at least one sense, as this will be the very first UEFA Women’s Champions League final that will be played in front of a capacity crowd. “It makes me so happy to see the positive development in women’s football. Hopefully this will continue,” says Janssen, who has played her own small part in the Philips Stadium running out of tickets, with a number of her friends and family among the 34,120 set to attend – something that will “give the match of the year an extra-special touch” for the local hero.