VfL Wolfsburg became the third team to successfully defend the European women's club title after the most exciting of the 13 finals so far as UEFA.com reviews the season.
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VfL Wolfsburg became the third team to successfully defend the European women's club title after the most exciting of the 13 finals so far.
In 2013 in London, debutants Wolfsburg thwarted Olympique Lyonnais' bid for an unprecedented third straight title , winning 1-0 with a Martina Müller penalty. Müller, who joined a then freshly-relegated Wolfsburg in 2005, struck the decisive goal again in Lisbon.
Wolfsburg's opponents Tyresö FF were, just as VfL in 2012/13, making their bow in Europe. But their team, including Marta – on the last Swedish team to win, Umeå IK, in 2004 – did not want for experience and in their maiden tie edged past highly-fancied Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on aggregate. Former finalists Fortuna Hjørring, Austria's first quarter-finalists SV Neulengbach and Birmingham City LFC also fell to the club from the Stockholm suburbs.
Pärnu JK, Sweden's FCR Malmö and FC Barcelona, the first Spanish side to reach the last eight, all failed to dethrone the champions, but in the semi-finals there was an all-German encounter with 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, who in the last 16 prevailed on away goals at Olympique Lyonnais, whose 2-1 second-leg loss was their first home competition defeat in seven years, keeping them out of the final for the only time since the UEFA Women's Champions League began in 2009/10. Potsdam held Wolfsburg 0-0 at home and twice led away in the first half only to lose 4-2.
Wolfsburg were considered favourites for the final at Lisbon's Estádio do Restelo but it seemed very different at half-time, Tyresö leading through Marta's brilliant run and finish on 28 minutes and Verónica Boquete soon after. The pace and verve of Tyresö was proving too much for Wolfsburg but in the second half they were a team transformed and what followed was the most thrilling 45 minutes in the competition's history.
Alexandra Popp's header on 47 minutes got Wolfsburg back in the game and Müller then levelled. Tyresö seemed on the ropes but Marta's geometrically-perfect finish restored their lead three minutes later. But in the 68th minute, with Tyresö defender Meghan Klingenberg off injured, substitute Verena Faisst marked her 25th birthday with a Wolfsburg equaliser and ten minutes from time player of the match Nadine Kessler beat three Tyresö defenders in the box and then held up the ball before setting up Müller to volley the winner.
Only Milena Nikolić of ŽFK Spartak, ten of whose 11 strikes came in the qualifying round, topped Müller's competition tally of ten. Wolfsburg made it eight German victories in 13 seasons and although Conny Pohlers did not come off the bench, she claimed a record fourth winner's medal and retires with a competition best 48 goals. Wolfsburg matched Umeå (2003, 2004) and Lyon (2011 and 2012) in retaining the title.
Coach Ralf Kellermann told UEFA.com: "When I looked into their eyes at half-time during the team talk, I could see the motivation and the determination that we could come back. Right away after that we scored our first goal, and then the belief increased and the team did great. And their third goal didn't really bother us; the team kept on believing, and it was sensational."