Women's Champions League final Barcelona vs Wolfsburg: Beginners' guide
Monday, May 29, 2023
Barcelona against Wolfsburg – date, time, TV channels, VAR and more: all you need to know about the Eindhoven final.
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All eyes will be on PSV Stadium on the afternoon of Saturday 3 June as the UEFA Women's Champions League season ends with Barcelona playing Wolfsburg for the title in Einhdoven.
Read our full guide to the biggest international club fixture in the calendar.
Eindhoven final: key info
When and where is the game?
The final is at 16:00 CET on Saturday 3 June at PSV Stadium, Eindhoven. This is the first time the final has been in the Netherlands, although UEFA Women's EURO 2017 was held there, with the decider in Enschede.
First opened in 1910, the 35,000-capacity PSV Stadium has a long history of staging major matches, including the UEFA Cup finals of 1978 (second leg) and 2006, the second leg of the 1988 UEFA Super Cup and three games at UEFA EURO 2000. There have been two 30,000-plus crowds there for Netherlands women internationals.
Sum up the Barcelona-Wolfsburg final in a few sentences?
Barcelona are into their third final in a row, and fourth in five seasons, having lost 4-1 to Lyon in 2019, beaten Chelsea 4-0 in 2021 and surprisingly been beaten 3-1 by Lyon in Turin last year. They beat Wolfsburg 5-1 on aggregate in last season's semi-finals, but the She-Wolves have performed consistently all season and certainly have pedigree, winning on their first two entries in 2012/13 and 2013/14, and having since lost three finals to Lyon (on penalties in 2016 and after extra time in 2018).
Are there any tickets left?
On 15 May, UEFA confirmed that the final was sold out for the first time since the UEFA Women's Champions League branding was introduced in 2009/10 (before that, the UEFA Women's Cup final was played over two legs).
How can I watch?
Every game in this season's UEFA Women's Champions League from the group stage onwards has been broadcast live on streaming platform DAZN, together with YouTube. The YouTube stream will also be embedded in the UEFA.com MatchCentre and on UEFA.tv, with highlights to follow at midnight CET after the game.
How has the season worked?
For the second time, there was a 16-team home-and-away group stage, with the DAZN/YouTube TV deal ensuring worldwide broadcast coverage throughout the competition. In all 71 clubs took part from 49 nations with 726,206 having attended the games throughout the season.
Who is the referee?
Cheryl Foster, capped 63 times by Wales as a player and an international referee since 2015, will be taking charge of her first UEFA Women’s Champions League final.The 42-year-old has refereed three matches in the competition this season, including the quarter-final second leg between Wolfsburg and Paris Saint-Germain.
Foster also took charge of last season's semi-final second leg between Wolfsburg and Barcelona, and officiated three matches at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in England. She previously played in UEFA women's club competition for Bangor City and St. Francis.
Foster will be assisted by the Republic Ireland’s Michelle O’Neill and Franca Overtoom from the Netherlands, with England's Natalie Aspinall acting as reserve assistant referee. The fourth official is Rebecca Welch, also from England. The VAR role has been assigned to Italian Massimiliano Irrati, and he will be accompanied by Sian Massey from England and Paolo Valeri from Italy.
Is there VAR in the final?
There has been VAR in the final since 2020, and from last season that was expanded to the whole knockout phase.
• Beat Chelsea 4-0 in the 2021 final in Gothenburg for Spain's first title, having lost 4-1 two years earlier in Budapest to Lyon, who then reclaimed the crown with a 3-1 victory last May in Turin. This season they have gone top of the UEFA rankings for the first time, ending Lyon's reign since 2018/19 (OL and Wolfsburg had shared top spot for more than a decade).
• Won the title on their debut entries of 2012/13 and 2013/14, and have made three more finals since, losing them all to Lyon (who they defeated in their maiden decider). They have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of the past 11 seasons, and the semis on eight occasions, behind only Lyon. Netherlands players Jill Roord, Lynn Wilms and Dominique Janssen are among their squad, while coach Tommy Stroot has more than once celebrated major honours at PSV Stadium while in charge of Twente.
• Spain had never had a finalist before Barcelona in 2019. Thanks in no small part to the Blaugrana, Spain vies with England for third place in the UEFA association ranking, which carries an automatic group-stage place for the national champions.
• Germany dominated the competition's early years through Frankfurt, Turbine Potsdam and Duisburg. Wolfsburg took up the mantle and their two final wins mean Germany still lead France (or more precisely Lyon) nine titles to eight. Germany is currently behind France in the association ranking, but only just.
Road to Eindhoven
• Scored an incredible 29 goals in winning their group, but only on head-to-head record after a rare 3-1 defeat at Bayern. Roma were dispatched 1-0 away and 5-1 at home, and after another 1-0 victory at Chelsea, a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou was enough. They played four games at that stadium, in that run, with a combined attendance of over 200,000.
• Sailed through Group B, comfortably beating St. Pölten home and away and picking up four points against both runners-up Roma and Slavia Praha. A tough quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain was negotiated, with Dominique Janssen's penalty the only goal at Parc des Princes and Alex Popp striking in a 1-1 home draw. They were also held at home by Arsenal in the semi-final first leg, Wolfsburg seeing an early 2-0 lead wiped out, and in London in front of more than 60,000 fans the tie continued to ebb and flow before Pauline Bremer's winner deep in extra time.
• Award-laden left-sided attacker Alexia Putellas has missed the majority of the campaign through injury, but goals have not been at a premium with central strikers Asisat Oshoala and Geyse, and wingers Salma Paralluelo and Mariona Caldentey getting their share. But the return of singular talent Caroline Graham Hansen has served Barcelona well, as her semi-final first-leg winner at Chelsea showed. She played for Wolfsburg between 2014 and 2019.
• Ewa Pajor has had rotten luck with injury in her career but when fit, the Poland forward has been consistently prolific and has underlined that this season as she tops the goalscorer rankings with eight. Defenders can ill-afford to take their eyes off her for a second.
• Aitana Bonmatí might well have won as many awards as Putellas, had her colleague not been there to monopolise them. The 25-year-old La Masia product is not only second in the Top Scorer ranking and leading on assists, but doesn't shirk her defensive duties alongside Patri Guijarro and Keira Walsh.
• Alex Popp has the ability to appear in pretty much any of these categories, and since her prolific Women's EURO campaign for Germany she has matched Pajor in front of goal (finishing as Bundesliga top scorer for the first time in Popp's career). But Popp is just as likely to be supporting the attack or even holding the midfield and her leadership role is immense – as befits a player who was part of both Wolfsburg's European triumphs as well as Duisburg's in 2008/09. Her return from injury for the second leg at Arsenal was vital, as were the creative Svenja Huth and unflappable Lena Oberdorf.
• Mapi León is as strong in the tackle as she is elegant on it. Having Irene Paredes next to her and full-backs like Lucy Bronze and Fridolina Rolfö on either side, Barcelona have a tremendous rearguard at their disposal.
• Already a Champions League winner with Frankfurt in 2015, Kathrin Hendrich has experience matched with footballing intelligence and determination, making her frustratingly hard to beat.
• Even a team like Barcelona need a top-class goalkeeper, and they have one in the rarely-beaten Sandra Paños.
• Merle Frohms returned to Wolfsburg from Frankfurt last summer, four years after departing, and has taken on the mantle from Almuth Schult, as she had already done to some aplomb for Germany.
• Jonatan Giráldez, the former assistant to Lluís Cortés, replaced the UEFA Women's Champions League-winning coach in summer 2021 and the only mis-step in all that time has been the Turin final defeat by Lyon. Barcelona have continued to thrive, however, clinching the Spanish league this season on 30 April with four games to go.
• Tommy Stroot also took over in 2021, having previously won two Dutch titles with Twente (bowing out after a championship celebration at PSV Stadium). He also had a spell in charge of Meppen.