Barcelona complete incredible comeback against Wolfsburg in UWCL final
The Blaugrana are the 2023 UEFA Women’s Champions League winners
Barcelona defeat Wolfsburg in the 2023 UEFA Women’s Champions League final on Saturday at a sold-out PSV Stadium, Eindhoven, the first time the decider has been staged in the Netherlands.
Barcelona were through to their fourth final in five seasons, their sensational 4-0 defeat of Chelsea in 2021 sandwiching losses to Lyon in 2019 and 2022. Last year in Turin, Barcelona were probably the favourites, having enjoyed an excellent season before their 3-1 reverse in the decider.
They looked the team to beat again after notching a record 29 goals in the group stage (despite a loss at Bayern) and then seeing off Roma and Chelsea in the knockouts. They finally got rid of the German side thanks to their mesmerizing second half which produced a match to remember and completed the most remarkable comeback here at Philips Stadion!
It is heartbreak for the German side’s fans after they cantered to a commanding 2-0 result at the half before being completely blitzed by the Blaugrana in the second half. Perennially among the favorites for the trophy, Wolfsburg have seen their European seasons end unfulfilled in recent years, most frequently against old rivals Lyon. With nine years having now passed since their last Champions League title success, Die Wölfinnen were desperate to finally return to European glory but self-destructed in the second half.
German Cup winners for the ninth year running but only runners-up behind Bayern in the league, Wolfsburg had all the motivation they needed to end this campaign with a bang. Last season, Wolfsburg lost 5-3 on aggregate to Barcelona in the semis, but after a heavy defeat at Camp Nou (with Graham Hansen among the scorers). Having made it a step further this time around, they were aiming for a first title since lifting the trophy in their debut European campaigns in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
End-to-end stuff in Eindhoven. The fans will certainly not be disappointed as both sides have looked to be aggressive from the outset. Barcelona have had a fair few advances at the Wolfsburg end, but the German team’s defensive shape held strong. The Blaugrana left themselves vulnerable to the counter so they needed to remain on the alert.
3 mins: Barcelona 0-1 Wolfsburg
Pajor’s ninth goal gives Wolfsburg vital early lead and it wasn’t a surprise? She has been on fire this tournament, and Barcelona had their hands full if they are to keep her quiet for the remainder of the match. A defensive lapse led to an early goal as Ewa Pajor propels Wolfsburg into the lead. Pajor was able to pressure Lucy Bronze off the ball, and subsequently aim for the top right corner, with Barcelona keeper Panos just getting her fingertips on it, but not enough to deflect the ball away as it nestles into the top corner.
Soon after Paredes missed the glorious chance to equalize. After a corner was taken from the right side, Paredes, who is seemingly unmarked by the far post, was able to get a head on the ball, but misses the net completely.
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37 mins: Barcelona 0-2 Wolfsburg
The Pajor-Popp connection doubled Wolfsburg’s lead! A quick counter-attack after another failed Barcelona drive affords Pajor precious space on the left side just outside of the box. She spots Popp rushing into the middle and times a wonderful cross that evades any close-by Barcelona defenders. Popp times her header superbly to the left of Panos to give Wolfsburg a healthy cushion.
Despite Barcelona dominating possession at 67 percent, and having 15 shots to Wolfsburg’s three in the first half, they were just not able to convert.
48 mins: Barcelona 1-2 Wolfsburg
Guijarro provided the vital breakthrough as Barcelona scored one early in the second half. A lovely chip from Graham-Hansen from the right side of the box finds the midfielder, who made no mistake as she gets it past Frohm’s defenses. A massive goal for Barcelona as they were right back into the contest.
50 mins: Barcelona 2-2 Wolfsburg
Guijarro sprinkled some more magic as she equalizes for Barcelona at Philips Stadion. A cross from the right side again finds the midfielder, who heads it past Frohms to set Barcelona fans alight. Whatever did manager Giraldez say at the half, it worked as they had entirely flipped this game on its head.
71 mins: Barcelona 3-2 Wolfsburg
A series of errors from Wolfsburg’s backline as a result of a chip from the right side lead to Barcelona’s third goal in 26 minutes. The ball arrives at the feet of Rolfo, who creates the desired space before launching the ball into the top right corner. What a turnaround and Wolfsburg had under 20 minutes to right the ship but it was already too late.
Dreamland for Rolfo and Barca.
Rolfo: “Never thought this would happen”
Barcelona’s Fridolina Rolfo, who scored the winner, had this to say after the match: “So emotional [at the moment]. I never thought this would happen. After two goals in the beginning [of the half], I thought we could do it. “We showed our mentality though and I am so proud of the team. We had to continue to believe in what we were doing, and we did it in the end.”