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VfL Wolfsburg won the UEFA Women's Champions League at the first attempt after Martina Müller's penalty ended the two-year reign of Olympique Lyonnais at Stamford Bridge in London tonight.
Lyon had the better of the final but could find no way through and with 17 minutes left, after Laura Georges handled, Müller ensured Wolfsburg would be the first team to defeat the French champions over 90 minutes for 120 games – a run predating coach Patrice Lair's summer 2010 appointment. Wolfsburg, like fellow Germans 1. FFC Frankfurt, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and FCR 2001 Duisburg, have won on their debut.
With midfielder Viola Odebrecht suspended, forward Selina Wagner injured and defender Verena Faisst ill, Wolfsburg coach Ralf Kellermann had moved Alexandra Popp back to left-back but they started brightly and Nadine Kessler hooked narrowly wide after good movement from Conny Pohlers. Lyon took time to settle, but when they did Camille Abily's effort was deflected just off target by Josephine Henning, and Amandine Henry nodded Megan Rapinoe's corner past the post.
Wolfsburg, fielding former winners Henning, Kessler, Pohlers and Popp in their starting lineup, were still pushing hard yet being gradually forced back by Lyon's expansive movement. Popp did come forward to half-volley a deep corner over, though at the other end Ivonne Hartmann had to make a telling interception after Rapinoe headed down a Laura Georges cross.
Henry threatened from distance and Abily sliced an incisive pass from Lotta Schelin, whose own curling shot was saved by a diving Alisa Vetterlein. Müller did hook an opportunist effort past the upright as Wolfsburg ended the first half in good shape, Kessler outshining the player of the match in the last two finals, Abily, in midfield.
Lyon coach Lair made a half-time change, with Rapinoe replaced by Lara Dickenmann, like Sarah Bouhaddi, Wendie Renard, Henry and Louisa Necib in her fourth straight final. Élodie Thomis quickly burst through but Schelin slipped as she attempted to receive a pass and Abily then had a fierce attempt bravely stopped by Vetterlein as Lyon took control.
The goalkeeper also denied Thomis after she turned in the box as the rain began to lash down at Stamford Bridge. To add further zest to his attack, Lair brought on Eugénie Le Sommer for Abily, but Wolfsburg were starting to contain the holders' play.
Then out of the blue, a goal. Georges handled in the area and Müller, a Wolfsburg stalwart since their second division season of 2005/06, powered in the penalty. Now Lyon were in an unfamiliar position and they piled forward, yet the best chance of the later stages was a strike from Wolfsburg substitute Lina Magull that Bouhaddi touched wide.
Soon the celebrations could commence, with Lena Goessling adjudged player of the match. For the competition's 42-goal all-time top scorer Pohlers there was another mark: a European title with her third different club after Potsdam (2005) and Frankfurt (2008). Meanwhile Wolfsburg, who had never won a major trophy a fortnight ago, now have a treble after claiming the German league and cup.
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