Wolfsburg 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 3-5): Spanish champions survive late German surge to reach the final
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Barcelona claimed their place in the UEFA Women's Champions League showpiece despite losing on the night to a spirited Wolfsburg.
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Barcelona's perfect campaign run was brought to an end, but the Spanish champions won on aggregate to reach the UEFA Women's Champions League final for the third time in four years, where they will meet Lyon in Turin on 21 May.
Match in brief: Wolfsburg win on the night, but Barcelona go through
Wolfsburg had a monumental task ahead of them, needing to overturn a four-goal first-leg deficit, and in an end-to-end opening, Tabea Wassmuth’s headed attempt had made up for a cagey start when Felicitas Rauch's wayward back pass allowed the Spanish champions to bear down on the hosts' goal early on.
Jonatan Giráldez's composed Barcelona soon found their rhythm, taking control and keeping possession, as Wolfsburg relied heavily on half chances and counterattacks. But despite Barça's dominance with decent first-half efforts from Caroline Graham Hansen, Aitana Bonmatí and Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, it was Wassmuth who struck first, reducing the deficit two minutes into the second half, and changing the complexion of the match.
Just before the hour-mark, Jill Roord gave Wolfsburg another enormous lift, finding Sandra Paños' bottom corner from distance, bringing the difference between the sides to just two. Still hunting two more goals, the She-Wolves threw everything at Barcelona. In a nervy end to the match, Svenja Huth spurned a great chance, before an industrious Sveindís Jónsdóttir run threatened late on.
Tommy Stroot's game plan had worked – bringing Barça's 45-game winning streak (including all 40 of their previous games this season) to an end – however, it wasn’t meant to be for Wolfsburg, as the Spanish side maintained their aggregate lead to book their place in the Turin final on 21 May.
Visa Player of the Match: Aitana Bonmatí (Barcelona)
"She has excellent technique, good communication and instructs well. She understands and reads the game well, and is always available with good composure. She calmed down hectic situations."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Joanna Kozak, Wolfsburg reporter
The hosts showed a reaction to the first leg tonight. That was the plan, and it was executed. However, the two goals were not enough to progress. A miracle failed to materialise, and for Wolfsburg the adventure ends here.
Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter
When is a defeat due to rust? Barcelona's winning streak was so long, so authoritative before this 2-0 loss that perhaps there was some subconscious complacency? Even a little tiredness based on the relentless demands to play-recuperate-travel-play-win? At any rate, the high intensity of Wolfsburg's clever and spirited performance wasn't quite something that the European champions could match. However, they dug in, they competed and they are through. Not all victories are products of flamboyance and devastating football. Barcelona are going to Turin; there's time to recuperate and, as of now, they remain the team to beat.
Tommy Stroot, Wolfsburg coach: "Obviously we're disappointed at being knocked out, but on the whole we played very well today. We knew what might happen today given the result in the first leg, but right now I'm very proud of the team for the way they played today and I'm looking forward to playing in the Champions League again next season."
Tabea Wassmuth, Wolfsburg forward: "We're disappointed, but I think we can also be proud of ourselves. It wasn't a foregone conclusion that we'd come back after the first leg. I mean, we won 2-0 against Barcelona and put in a really good performance. We had the chances to maybe score another goal or two, but primarily I'm just proud of the team and of our performance today."
Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: "The mental factor is the key – especially when there's so much at stake. In the first leg we played really well, and scoring so early set the tone for that part of the tie. Today brought us experience. They played higher up the pitch after the break, pressed us and we lost the ball too often."
Aitana Bonmatí, Barcelona midfielder: "I'm not happy because we lost. We reached the final but we're a winning team and we don't like to lose. It's a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I'm very happy because we've reached another big final, but we're not coming away from here feeling good with the result. Now we have to learn from this and fight in the final."
- Wolfsburg ended Barcelona's 11-game winning streak in this competition, three short of Umeå's record.
- Barcelona have failed to score in just two of their last 34 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.
- Wolfsburg have won their last four home UEFA Women's Champions League matches against Spanish clubs (F21 A2).
- Wolfsburg have won five of their last six home matches in the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals.
- Barcelona will have met Lyon in two of their three final appearances: they lost 4-1 to OL in Budapest three years ago, the last time before tonight they had been beaten by a margin of more than one goal.
Wolfsburg: Schult; Wilms (Bremer 85), Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch; Jonsdottir, Roord (Popp 62), Lattwein, Huth; Wasmmuth, Pajor
Barcelona: Paños; Torrejón, Paredes, León, Rolfö (Ouahabi 65); Bonmati (Syrstad Engen 84), Guijarro, Alexia; Graham Hansen (Pina 84), Hermoso (Oshoala 59), Crnogorčević (Caldentey 59)
When and where is the 2022 UEFA Women's Champions League final?
Barcelona face Lyon at Juventus Stadium, Turin on 21 May at 19:00 CET.