Wolfsburg v Lyon: Women's Champions League final preview

Gérard Precheur called on Lyon's players to put emotions to one side as they face Wolfsburg – the side that beat them in the 2013 final – in this season's Reggio Emilia decider.

Three years on from Wolfsburg beating holders Lyon 1-0 as debutants in the UEFA Women's Champions League final in London, the sides meet again for the trophy in Reggio Emilia.

Both teams overwhelmed domestic rivals in the first leg of the semi-finals; Lyon defeating 2015 runners-up Paris Saint-Germain 7-0 and Wolfsburg beating holders FFC Frankfurt 4-0. However a close final looks likely; five of the last six have been between French and German teams, with never more than two goals in it.

Wolfsburg are without injured striker Caroline Graham Hansen, midfielder Julia Simic and defender Noelle Maritz. Although Lyon midfielder Claire Lavogez has been missing since late March, she returned on Saturday against Montpellier, a 1-1 draw in which most first-choice players were rested.

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  • What they say:
Ralf Kellermann speaks to the media
Ralf Kellermann speaks to the media©AFP/Getty Images

Ralf Kellermann, Wolfsburg coach
In 2013, we got to the final as newcomers and Lyon underestimated us. But now we have established ourselves as a big European club – we have won this competition twice, reached the semi-finals and now reached the final again. It will be a tough, tight match. Maybe Lyon are slight favourites as they are a consistent team with a settled lineup each season.

Lyon have quality in every position and we are without two of our big stars from the past, Martina Müller and Nadine Kessler, but we have compensated for their departures quite well.

We have the same players as in recent matches; the injured players won't be back for a while, but since Julia Simic got injured, no one else has been ruled out, so we have the same team that beat Frankfurt [in the semi-finals] and won the German Cup final.

Gérard Precheur has his say
Gérard Precheur has his say©AFP/Getty Images

Gérard Precheur, Lyon coach
As a coach, I focus on the present – on the effort we need to make for the match. I'm not interested in the past. You need the right attitude for a match like this. There are many feelings ahead of a big match like this – revenge [for 2013], the Franco-German sporting rivalry – but as a coach I emphasise what happens on the pitch and not what is said at a press conference or anywhere else.

At Lyon things are simple. When you play here, you play to win the French League, the French Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League. Two objectives have been reached, and now we are focused on the third. We are proud of what we have achieved. It is normal to emphasise the emotional aspects of these kind of events but it's not my priority. I focus on the game. I need my team at 100% of their capacity, as they have shown all season. We are a collective-minded team and these players will put their emotions to one side.

Read more...
Ralf Kellermann interview
Gérard Precheur interview

  • Domestic season
Lyon get ready on Wednesday
Lyon get ready on Wednesday©AFP/Getty Images

Wolfsburg
Never quite recovering from a slow start, Wolfsburg still booked a return to Europe next season by beating Frankfurt to second place, though they ended up ten points adrift of champions Bayern München. On Saturday, they beat Sand 2-1 to retain the German Cup in Cologne, Zsanett Jakabfi scoring the 80th-minute winner – her second goal of the game.

Lyon
Lyon won a domestic double for the fifth season in a row. Although their much-changed lineup drew 1-1 at home to Montpellier on Saturday, they still ended the campaign three points clear of Paris. In their 22 games, they won 19 and drew three, scoring 115 goals and conceding just four.

Read more...
Camille Abily introduces Lyon players
Nilla Fischer on the Wolfsburg squad

  • Key factors
Wolfsburg get a feel for the pitch in Reggio Emilia
Wolfsburg get a feel for the pitch in Reggio Emilia©AFP/Getty Images

Form favours Lyon
Although Lyon drew at the weekend, they are unbeaten in 48 competitive games going back to the 1-0 loss to Paris that ended their European hopes last November. Wolfsburg have generally looked excellent since the winter break but a 4-0 loss at Turbine Potsdam earlier this month and their struggles for much of the German Cup final are a concern, especially in the absence of Hansen – the only player to get three European goals for them this season.

Nilla Fischer on 2014 final
Nilla Fischer on 2014 final

Wolfsburg flexibility
While Wolfsburg's XI will be much changed from the 2013 final compared to Lyon's, they are still coached by Ralf Kellermann. The man that found a way to end one long unbeaten Lyon run at Stamford Bridge is more than capable of doing so again, especially with versatile players like Lara Dickenmann and Alex Popp available.

Schelin, Henry and Necib aim to leave on high
Lotta Schelin scored in both legs of the semi-final defeat of Paris to take her competition tally to 41 – a new record for a single club. This will be her last game for Lyon, and she is aiming for a third UEFA Women's Champions League to add to her perfect eight French titles. In over 200 appearances for Lyon, the Sweden striker has averaged more than a goal a game, but she is yet to score in a European final. The same goes for two other world-class, long-term Lyon players about to depart, Amandine Henry and Louisa Necib.

Read more...
Alex Popp wants winning feeling
2015/16: season stats

  • Players to watch
Dickenmann on Lyon
Dickenmann on Lyon

Wolfsburg: Lara Dickenmann
Dickenmann joined Wolfsburg from Lyon last summer, along with Élise Bussaglia, and the versatile Swiss international has become increasingly important to Wolfsburg's play. Kellermann told UEFA.com: "She is a top professional who has the advantage of being able to play in many different positions. She has been playing at right-back for us, which was not the initial plan, but it has really suited our style of play."

Lyon: Ada Hegerberg
Schelin might be going but Lyon's line will still be led by a prolific Scandinavian. In her second Lyon season, 20-year-old Norway striker Hegerberg has scored 53 goals in 33 competitive games, including a competition-leading 12 in Europe – two shy of the single-season record.

Read more...
Ada Hegerberg living the dream
Lara Dickenmann on Lyon reunion

  • France v Germany finals
2013 final highlights
2013 final highlights

2010: Turbine Potsdam (GER) 0-0, 7-6 pens Lyon (FRA), Getafe
2011: Lyon (FRA) 2-0 Turbine Potsdam (GER), Fulham
2012: Lyon (FRA) 2-0 FFC Frankfurt (GER), Munich
2013: Wolfsburg (GER) 1-0 Lyon (FRA), Chelsea
(2014: Wolfsburg (GER) 4-3 Tyresö (SWE), Lisbon)
2015: FFC Frankfurt (GER) 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), Berlin

Read more...
Players remember 2013 final
Competition history

  • And finally ...

Hegerberg has scored 12 goals in the competition this season, two shy of the single-campaign record of 14 currently shared by Conny Pohlers (Turbine Potsdam, 2004/05), Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík, 2008/09) and Célia Šašić (Frankfurt, 2014/15). Read more in our extensive match background.

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