Selina Wagner helped VfL Wolfsburg to semi-final victory on her first start for two years and told UEFA.com: "I never felt we could still give it away," as Arsenal LFC reflected on defeat.
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VfL Wolfsburg have continued German tradition by emulating 1. FFC Frankfurt, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in reaching the European women's club final in their debut season and Selina Wagner told UEFA.com: "I never felt we could still give it away."
Wolfsburg began their home UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final with Arsenal LFC already 2-0 up and Wagner, making her first start in two years due to Alexandra Popp's suspension, soon extended that advantage as they went on to win 2-1 on the afternoon. Kim Little's equaliser was cancelled out by Nadine Kessler on the rebound from her saved penalty meaning Wolfsburg now play Olympique Lyonnais at Stamford Bridge on 23 May. Defender Verena Faisst, who made Wagner's goal, said that a "first dream has come true" while Arsenal manager Shelley Kerr admitted Wolfsburg deserved to make it but praised her side, which she only took over last month.
Selina Wagner , Wolfsburg forward
It was the first time in exactly two years that I played as a starter. That was exceptional and I am glad that I could justify it with my goal. The coach showed confidence in me, as I was a bit nervous at the beginning especially playing in front of the [8,000] crowd. Our plan was to score an early goal and that helped us to build up confidence and increase our advantage.
We played very well after scoring the first goal, but unfortunately conceded a goal which made us a little bit nervous. But I never felt we could still give it away, compliments to my team. We played well until the end and you could see that we are in a good shape and everything's working well. Our aim is to win as many titles as possible and we are on the right path.
Verena Faisst, Wolfsburg defender
A first dream has come true. Who would have thought we could make it to the final in our maiden season? The crowd helped a lot today and made our life easier. I think that we had the right tactics, especially in the first half. Our passing game was good and we were compact as a team. Unfortunately, we couldn't score a second goal quickly, but scoring from the spot decided the tie. It wasn't easy, when we conceded the equaliser, but we stood firm and didn't give anything away. Now we are all looking forward to the final.
Nadine Kessler, Wolfsburg captain
I think it was the worst penalty of my life, but luckily the ball went in. We deserved to win, as we had more ball possession, but just missed scoring more goals. We had an immediate reply to the equaliser, that was important. It was unusual to play with a bandage [on my wrist, injured in the week], but the pain was bearable.
We have to be more clinical in front of the goal, as we won't get that many chances in the final. That's something we have to work on. I am looking forward to London, as the Champions League is a special competition and it will be an incredible feeling to play there.
Viola Odebrecht, Wolfsburg midfielder (suspended for final)
I felt that there was never a doubt we would advance to the final. It is normal that we cannot avoid Arsenal getting some chances, as they are a top European side, but we could have scored five or six goals today if our finishing had been more clinical. I should have avoided this yellow card with all my experience, but it was a reflex. I was convinced I would get the ball, but she grabbed it and I touched her, that's how it is.
Shelley Kerr, Arsenal manager
I thought in the first half Wolfsburg were the better team. They probably could have scored two or three goals. We were very fortunate in the second half we came out and showed character, scored the goal and at that point we thought, if we could get another one then it might be different.
If I am really honest over the two legs Wolfsburg were the better team and fully deserved to be in the final. The penalty was a shame, Kim [Little] scored a fantastic goal and she was just unfortunate, she really couldn't do anything, we have no complaint, it was a penalty. We have an exceptionally talented team with exceptionally talented players and sometimes it is just the right decisions under pressure in the big games something that maybe we can progress and get better.
Kim Little, Arsenal midfielder
Obviously we are really disappointed with the result today and to lose the tie over two legs. The penalty kind of cancelled us out. Credit goes to Wolfsburg they played really well against us and knew how to stop us and did it really well over both legs. Conceding early was a little bit against our plan, but we still needed to score three goals. We got back into the game at the start of the second half when I scored, but then...
We have been so consistent getting into the quarters and the semis in the past three years, but obviously we want to take the next step and it comes from working better as a team.
Alex Scott, Arsenal defender
We didn't really keep the ball very well, that's the lesson we need to take from both legs. We gave sloppy possession away at times and their attacking threat was good. Once we got the first goal it was an uphill task from there. I think we regrouped at half time and we came out there in the second half.
When we got the penalty that was what kind of drained us, because we were trying to get back in the game. We've got that great goal from Kim and then we felt we could get another one and get back in the game. The penalty kind of killed the game for us. It was heartbreak from there.