Barcelona’s 48-game unbeaten run was brought to an end as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final. But the holders still progressed to the final thanks to an overall 5-3 aggregate victory.
Barcelona saw numerous first half chances to go begging, but really struggled in the second as Wolfsburg pressed high and caused the visitors all sorts of problems.
Wolfsburg were left to curse their 5-1 first leg defeat at Camp Nou which ultimately left them with too much to do in front of a bumper 22,000 crowd at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday evening.
Reigning European champions Barcelona will attempt to defend their crown against either PSG or Lyon at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium on 21 May.
Barcelona enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first 45 and spent much of the opening period camped in the Wolfsburg half. Irene Paredes drew a save from Almuth Schult with a half chance from a corner, while Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic blazed over when she should have at least tested the Wolfsburg goalkeeper.
However, the half’s best chance would fall to the hosts. Ewa Pajour picked out the run of Jill Roord to send the Wolfsburg midfielder clean through, but she fired straight at Sandra Panos as the first half finished goalless.
Two minutes into the second period, the deadlock was broken. The ball broke to Tabea Wassmuth on the edge of the box, and she fired low through a sea of bodies and into the net, via a slight deflection.
With a spring in their step thanks to the opening goal and with the home crowd roaring encouragement, Wolfsburg pressed Barcelona higher up the pitch and further reduced the deficit just before the hour. Roord won the ball back deep in the Barcelona half and sat a low, powerful drive past Sandra Panos.
Barcelona threw bodies on the line in the dying stages to ensure their aggregate lead was never hugely threatened, with their thumping first leg victory ultimately enough to see them through to the Champions League final.
GK: Almuth Schult – 7/10 – Made a few routine saves in the first half, including a decent stop to deny Parades. Out really quickly to keep out Bonmati in the second half.
RB: Lynn Wilms – 6/10 – Got caught napping to let Crnogorcevic in during the first half, but like Wolfsburg was much improved in the second.
CB: Kathrin Hendrich – 7/10 – Made a crucial last ditch block to keep out a goal-bound Caldentey effort in the second half – a goal which would have surely killed off all Wolfsburg hopes.
CB: Dominique Janssen – 6/10 – A much improved defensive display from the first leg. Very cooly dispossessed Bonmati in the second half – the Barcelona midfielder would have otherwise been clean through on goal.
LB: Congratulations Rauch – 5/10 – Struggled to contend with the lively Graham Hansen – as most players do – with the many of Barcelona’s best chances coming from the Wolfsburg left.
CDM: Lena Lattwein – 6/10 – Occasionally sloppy when playing out from the back, resulting in a number of turnovers of possession.
RM: Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir – 8/10 – Quiet in the first half but really came into her own in the second, causing problems with a couple of jinking runs. Her long throws from her were also a real asset, she worked so hard defensively.
CM: Jill Roord – 7/10 – Missed the biggest chance of the first half having been played clean through, firing straight at Panos. He did all the work for Wolfsburg’s second, winning the ball back and sending a low drive from the edge of the box into the net. He surprisingly replaced just after the hour.
CM: Svenja Huth – 8/10 – Made a crucial interception to halt a threatening Barcelona attack in the early exchanges. Impressed with her ability to harry, break up play and trigger attacks.
LM: Tabea Wassmuth – 7/10 – Netted her 10th Champions League goal of the season to open the scoring, doing well to keep the bouncing ball down and fire low into the net from the edge of the area.
ST: Ewa Pajour – 8/10 – Played in Floor with a really smart pass for Wolfsburg’s best chance of the first half. Fizzing with energy, didn’t give the Barcelona backline a moment’s rest.
Sub: Alexandre Popp – 6/10
Sub: Pauline Bremer – 5/10
GK: Sandra Panos – 6/10 – Out quickly to hold onto Roord’s effort in the first half. Couldn’t do a great deal about either of Wolfsburg’s goals.
RB: Marta Torrejon – 6/10 – Kept Wassmouth quiet in the first half, but struggled more in the second as Wolfsburg harried the Barcelona backline.
CB: Mapi Leon – 6/10 – Effortlessly ice cool in possession, struggled to contend with the lively Pajour.
CB: Irene Paredes – 6/10 – Called Schult into action with a half volley in the first period, before making a crucial last ditch block to deny Wolfsburg a second in the second half.
LB: Fridolina Rolfo – 6/10 – Magical feet, so dangerous going forward in the first half. Struggled a bit more against Jonsdottir in the second half, replaced just after the hour.
CM: Patricia Guijarro – 5/10 – Had her pocket picked by Roord on the edge of her own box, resulting in Wolfsburg’s second.
CM: Aitana Bonmati – 7/10 – Such a beautiful passer of the ball. Picked out Crnogorcevic for one of Barcelona’s best sightings of goal in the first half, she drew a good save from Schult with an opportunity of her own in the second.
CM: Alexia Putellas – 6/10 – Targeted frequently by Wolfsburg and spent much of the game being fouled. She could n’t quite have her usual attacking influence on her.
RW: Caroline Graham Hansen – 7/10 – The catalyst for many of Barcelona’s most dangerous attacks with her driving runs and teasing deliveries from the right flank.
ST: Jenni Hermoso – 6/10 – Typically tidy in possession but didn’t have a great deal of impact in the final third before being replaced just before the hour.
LW: Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic – 5/10 – Saw two big chances go begging in the first half, flicking just wide and then blazing over. Replaced just before the hour.
Sub: Asisat Oshoala – 6/10
Sub: Mariona Caldentey – 6/10
Sub: Leila Ouahabi – 6/10
Sub: Claudia Pina – 5/10
Sub: Ingrid Syrstad Engen – 5/10