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Wolfsburg 1-1 Paris (agg: 2-1): She-Wolves clinch semi-final spot after draw

Alex Popp's opening goal helped two-time winners Wolfsburg reach an eighth semi-final as they saw off a spirited Paris team.

Highlights: Wolfsburg 1-1 Paris

Wolfsburg are through to their eighth UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final after Alex Popp's 20th-minute goal made the difference against Paris Saint-Germain, who levelled on the night but could not overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

Key moments

20' Popp powers in stunning opener
Diani nods close-range equaliser
53' Post denies Popp
77' Oberdorf header hits bar
85' Jónsdóttir smacks woodwork

Match in brief: Wolfsburg held but reach last four

The celebrations begin for Wolfsburg
The celebrations begin for WolfsburgGetty Images

With his team a goal up after the first leg, Wolfsburg boss Tommy Stroot raised eyebrows with his starting line-up, opting to leave the competition's leading scorer Ewa Pajor on the bench initially, with Jill Roord filling the lone striker's role.

Paris started brightly, with Kadidiatou Diani steering the ball into the net after latching onto Ashley Lawrence's pass, but the visitors' joy was short-lived as her effort was ruled out for offside.

At the other end, the hosts extended their advantage in spectacular fashion with their first real chance. Popp cut out a pass in midfield before setting Felicitas Rauch racing down the left. The defender cut inside before returning the favour for the run of Popp, who swept a powerful effort into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.

The 31-year-old almost snagged a second shortly afterwards, but her diving header from Svenja Huth's curling cross brought a reaction save from Sarah Bouhaddi.

Moments later and Gérard Prêcheur's side were level on the night. Sakina Karchaoui's delivery from the left handed Diani the opportunity to get in front of her marker, before she nodded the ball just inside the far post.

Any lingering Paris hopes of turning the tie around were dealt a major blow in first-half added time, as the club's leading scorer Diani was forced off with a shoulder problem.

That did not quell the French side's attacking instincts, however. Shortly after the restart, Merle Frohms had to be at her best to tip Kheira Hamraoui's curler over the bar.

It was a frantic opening to the second half as Rauch and Popp combined well once again, although the latter could only prod her shot against the foot of the upright.

The She-wolves stepped up a gear, with Roord sent clear in the box but unable to beat the advancing Bouhaddi. From the subsequent corner, Grace Geyoro was perfectly positioned to clear Popp's downward header off the line.

Both clubs went in search of a second goal and it was Wolfsburg who came closest, with Lena Oberdorf powering a header off the crossbar and Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir's audacious effort also striking the woodwork.

As it happened: Wolfsburg 1-1 Paris (agg: 2-1)
Alex Popp receives her Player of the Match award
Alex Popp receives her Player of the Match awardUEFA via Getty Images

Visa Player of the Match: Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg)

"She scored a stunning goal, was competitive throughout and showed immense leadership to the rest of her side."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Jordan Maciel, Wolfsburg reporter

They wanted a win but a draw will do for Wolfsburg, whose hopes of securing a third Women’s Champions League title live on after a nail-biting encounter. It wasn’t a vintage performance from the She-Wolves, who made it much harder than they needed to with a flurry of missed chances, but they handled Paris’ pressure well in the first half and did enough to get the job done. They’ll enjoy this night now, but they’ll need to improve their finishing before facing Arsenal in the semi-finals.

Vanessa Tomaszewski, Paris reporter

Paris made a great start but needed Diani to draw them level following a ruthless, classy finish from Popp with the hosts' first attack of the game. Losing their top scorer before the break was a huge blow to their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of this competition for the fourth successive campaign. While they had opportunities to force extra time, they were unable to convert their chances, and at the other end needed the woodwork to come to their rescue on a number of occasions.

Paris's campaign is over
Paris's campaign is overGetty Images


Tommy Stroot, Wolfsburg coach: "We're delighted. I am so proud of the team. It's really special to play in a quarter-final and it will be even better to play in the semi-finals, among the best four teams. It was incredible [celebrating with the fans]; we are enjoying every moment of it because it's really special to play here at the Wolfsburg Arena against teams like Paris, and soon Arsenal."

Alexandra Popp, Wolfsburg forward and Player of the match: "We're so happy and so proud – that was a hard fight. We could have actually won the game; we had a few chances to score. I also missed a few unfortunately, with the one that hit the post. But we really dug deep at the end when Paris upped the pressure. Scoring the first goal was really important."

Gérard Prêcheur, Paris coach: "We don't like to lose; I hate it. We played well and had 45 minutes where we were in control, where we made them doubt. There is a lot of pride in what the girls produced over the two games."

Grace Geyoro, Paris midfielder: "We gave everything. We played to our strengths tonight and we have to keep our heads up. We still have other competitions to play and we must remain united, together."

Key stats

  • Popp's goal was her first in this competition for over two years, since netting against Lillestrøm in early March 2021.
  • Wolfsburg have only lost two of their last 21 Women's Champions League games at home (W16 D3).
  • Wolfsburg have reached their eighth Women's Champions League semi-final – only Lyon have appeared in more.
  • The She-Wolves equalled the German record for reaching the last four of the Women's Champions League, joining Frankfurt on eight semi-final appearances.
  • Paris have won just two of their last eight Women's Champions League games against German clubs (D2 L4).


Wolfsburg: Frohms; Wilms, Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch; Oberdorf, Lattwein; Huth, Popp, S. Jónsdóttir (Brand 90+3); Roord (Pajor 73)

Paris: Bouhaddi; Lawrence, Jean-François, Geyoro, Karchaoui; Fazer, Hamraoui, Baltimore (Albert 62); Martens (Li 54), Diani (Vangsgaard 46), Bachmann (Traore 73)

What's next?

Wolfsburg will face Arsenal in the semi-finals on 22/23 and 29/30 April. Wolfsburg will be at home in the first leg.