Barcelona recovered from 2-0 down at half-time to clinch the UEFA Women's Champions League title for a second time.
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Barcelona have won the UEFA Women's Champions League for the second time in three years after a thrilling comeback from two down to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 in Eindhoven.
Ewa Pajor and Alex Popp had put Wolfsburg seemingly in control at half-time. But, within five minutes of the restart, Patri Guijarro scored twice to level the scores, and former Wolfsburg player Fridolina Rolfö later sealed only the second comeback from two goals down to win a final of this competition.
3' Pajor gets ninth goal of campaign
37' Popp doubles lead from Pajor cross
48' Guijarro pulls one back
50' Guijarro heads equaliser
70' Rolfö gives Barcelona lead
Match in brief: Barcelona dig deep
A fast start had proved the key in the previous four finals – three of those involving Barcelona – and the Blaugrana poured forward immediately, piling on the pressure. After just three minutes, however, they were behind, as Ewa Pajor dispossessed Lucy Bronze, cut inside and fired in from outside the box for her competition-leading ninth goal of the season, and a strike similar to Amandine Henry's opener for Lyon against Barcelona a year ago.
Barcelona responded confidently, Irene Paredes getting in a great position from a corner but heading wide of the far post. Aitana Bonmatí then had a shot blocked in the box, and Barcelona kept building in their trademark way, only to encounter tenacious pressing from the likes of Alex Popp – nominally Wolfsburg's centre-forward – Lena Oberdorf and Jill Roord.
In the 37th minute, Popp buried her record-equalling fourth goal in a final. Pajor was the provider this time, receiving the ball from Felicitas Rauch and sending in a perfect cross for her captain, playing in her seventh decider overall, to nod in. Barcelona needed a response and Bronze, a three-time winner with Lyon, nearly provided one just before half-time, forcing her way through and slipping the ball to Salma Paralluelo, who was denied at close range by Merle Frohms.
The first-half stats had Barcelona 16-3 up on attempts and they quickly added to their tally after the interval, Mariona Caldentey shooting straight at Frohms. And the next attempt was a goal, Bonmatí's trickery freeing Caroline Graham Hansen for a clever cutback which set up Patri Guijarro to halve the deficit.
Two minutes later it was 2-2, and Guijarro again the scorer, heading in after another superb piece of skill and perfect lobbed cross from Bonmatí. Barcelona were now pouring forward, stretching Wolfsburg on both flanks and bombarding the penalty area.
Wolfsburg were not giving up, though, and Dutch duo Lynn Wilms and Roord combined to feed Pajor, whose angled shot did not beat Sandra Paños. Pajor again had the ball in a similar position on the left a couple of minutes later – with the same result.
Instead, it was Barcelona who found the net once more. Soon after coming on, Geyse sent in a cross and an attempted Wilms clearance hit Kathrin Hendrich in the Wolfsburg box. Caldentey was there to pounce and somehow wriggled free of the defensive pair to feed former Wolfsburg player Fridolina Rolfö, who made no mistake with the goal gaping.
There was no way back for Wolfsburg, despite a last-gasp effort from their semi-final hero Pauline Bremer, and even before the final whistle there was an extra treat for the large Barcelona contingent in the Dutch women's record 33,147 crowd as Alexia Putellas came off the bench for her first appearance in the Women's Champions League this season after serious injury.
Visa Player of the Match: Patri Guijarro (Barcelona)
"She changed the game by scoring two goals in quick succession. The catalyst for the Barcelona comeback. Her attacking attitude in the second half got her into the box to capitalise on crossing opportunities that Barcelona couldn't capitalise on in the first half."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter
Barcelona won a final which they'd looked like losing thanks to one of their oldest tricks: dropping an extra player into midfield to create 'superiority' of numbers, Caldentey in this instance.
Wolfsburg's tactics and execution had been so clever. But Spain's champions took trailing 2-0 as a personal insult. The turbochargers went on and the reset strategy worked a treat. Rolfö was also key, playing as a left-winger not a full-back. 'She who dares wins' was the motto.
Judith Tuffentsammer, Wolfsburg reporter
In the end, it was rare blips in defensive coverage that cost Wolfsburg their hard-earned lead – and the game. Up 2-0 thanks to impressive ruthlessness in the first half, the Wölfinnen surprised everyone and looked like the formidable opponents they'd set out to be.
After Barcelona had endured their fair share of bad luck in the first half, they came out of the dressing room blazing. The Spanish side proved the more dominant and clinical team throughout the second period, with Wolfsburg unable to recreate their attacking output of the first 45 minutes.
Paul Saffer, match reporter
After four straight finals in which a fast start to the game had been the key, this time it was what came immediately after the interval that proved decisive. Barcelona have shown their ability to dictate and dominate in recent years; what they unveiled tonight was a grit and tactical flexibility to go with the incredible individual talents they boast.
Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: "Maybe the half-time score was unfair because of how many chances we'd created and the pattern of play. We made a mistake at the start and we conceded. It's not about what happens but how you react, and we did that well but then conceded again. At half-time, we wanted to improve ball reception. We had to wake up, be optimistic, realise there were 45 minutes left and it wasn't impossible."
Patri Guijarro, Player of the Match: "It complicates matters when you concede two goals. We created chances but didn't take them. We talked at half-time about those small details, the self-belief that we've matured since last year and that we didn't break down after going behind. It was everyone’s hunger and belief [that led to victory]. I'm really happy about helping my team win this piece of silverware."
Lucy Bronze, Barcelona defender: "We made it hard for ourselves in the first half, even though we created so many chances. We could have scored many goals in that first half. I think we knew we had enough quality to come back into any game. I don't think we were ever worried about scoring three goals, which is a crazy feat to do, but that's the talent within this team."
Caroline Graham Hansen, Barcelona forward: "This game had every emotion it could have. I'm just so happy. Two-nil down at half-time, I had a big flashback to the last final [losing to Lyon in 2022] and thought, 'It's not going to happen again.'"
Tommy Stroot, Wolfsburg coach: "Congratulations to Barcelona. We saw a great game here in Eindhoven. It was an advertisement for women's football. Everyone in the stadium and watching on TV saw a game of a great standard with high individual quality – from Barcelona, but also the way we played."
Alex Popp, Wolfsburg forward: "Firstly, it's an incredible disappointment. For one, there's a big feeling of emptiness, because we had a 2-0 lead. But I believe we played a very good season – in the Champions League, winning the German Cup and doing well in the league. That's extremely difficult to understand now because the pain and disappointment are so big. But give the players a few days and then, hopefully, the world will look a bit different."
- Contesting their fourth final in five years, Barcelona won a second title to go with their 2020/21 triumph.
- Barcelona are only the second team to come back from two goals down to win a final of this competition, Wolfsburg having done likewise against Tyresö in 2014.
- Popp equalled Ada Hegerberg's record of scoring in the final in four separate seasons.
- Wolfsburg suffered their fourth straight final defeat after losing to Lyon in 2016, 2018 and 2020. They won the final in their first two European campaigns in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Barcelona: Paños; Bronze, Paredes, León, Rolfö; Bonmatí (Putellas 90), Walsh (Syrstad Engen 89), Guijarro; Graham Hansen (Crnogorčević 79), Caldentey (Pina 79), Paralluelo (Geyse 70)
Wolfsburg: Frohms; Wilms (Hegering 84), Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch; Oberdorf, Roord (Lattwein 71); Huth; Jónsdóttir, Popp, Pajor (Bremer 84)
Roll of honour: Finals
UEFA Women's Champions League:
2023 (Eindhoven): Barcelona 3-2 Wolfsburg
2022 (Turin): Lyon 3-1 Barcelona
2021 (Gothenburg): Barcelona 4-0 Chelsea
2020 (San Sebastián): Lyon 3-1 Wolfsburg
2019 (Budapest): Lyon 4-1 Barcelona
2018 (Kyiv): Lyon 4-1aet Wolfsburg
2017 (Cardiff): Lyon 0-0aet, 7-6pens Paris Saint-Germain
2016 (Reggio Emilia): Lyon 1-1aet, 4-3pens Wolfsburg
2015 (Berlin): Frankfurt 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
2014 (Lisbon): Wolfsburg 4-3 Tyresö
2013 (London): Wolfsburg 1-0 Lyon
2012 (Munich): Lyon 2-0 FFC Frankfurt
2011 (London): Lyon 2-0 Turbine Potsdam
2010 (Madrid): Turbine Potsdam 0-0aet, 7-6pens Lyon
UEFA Women's Cup:
2009: Duisburg 6-0/1-1: agg 7-1 Zvezda-2005
2008: Frankfurt 1-1/3-2: agg 4-3 Umeå
2007: Arsenal 1-0/0-0: agg 1-0 Umeå
2006: Frankfurt 4-0/3-2: agg 7-2 Turbine Potsdam
2005: Turbine Potsdam 2-0/3-1: agg 5-1 Djurgården
2004: Umeå 3-0/5-0: agg 8-0 Frankfurt
2003: Umeå 4-1/3-0: agg 7-1 Fortuna Hjørring
2002 (Frankfurt): Frankfurt 2-0 Umeå