Wolfsburg v Barcelona: Women’s Champions League semi-final – live! | Women’s Champions League


Half-time: Wolfsburg 0-0 Barcelona (1-5 agg)

The Welsh official Cheryl Foster adds on precisely 0.05secs of injury time and that’s our lot for the first half. Barcelona have, predictably, enjoyed most of the possession but haven’t been at their sharpest against a Wolfsburg side who’ve defended and kept their shape well, and had the odd sniff on the counter, but there’s little to suggest a miraculous turnaround. See you in 10 minutes or so.

44 mins: It’s all Barcelona now and Rolfo blooters another left-foot volley wide and high after a diagonal ball to her on the left.

43 mins: Big Barca chance – a lovely ball in from Bonmati on the right finds Crnogoroevcic in acres of space and her firm shot is tipped over.

42 mins: Bonmati, Putellas and Hermoso combine smartly on the edge of the area and when the latter gets clear on the left, Wolfsburg have to concede another corner. From which Graham Hansen eventually marauds clear to the left byline but her cross across the face of goal somehow deflected away.

38 mins: That chance has livened the crowd up anyway – a decent old racket is now being made – as Graham Hansen wins Barcelona’s second corner on the right. She takes it herself, it’s met by a sharp angled header from Rolfo to the far post where Patri’s effort is turned behind for another corner that comes to nowt.

34 mins: Big Wolfsburg chance! Pajor robs Bonmati, forages forward and slips a lovely reverse pass into the path of Roord, and the former Arsenal player’s low shot is grasped by Panos. Best chance either side has had, to be honest. And perhaps Roord could have done better.

33 mins: Barca win their first corner, after some slightly careless defending, and it’s played to the edge of the area by Rolfo for Paredes whose firm drive needs to be well held by Schult in goal.

31 mins: Every now and then, Wolfsburg get in behind the Barcelona defence, usually through longer balls in behind and Pajor skips clear from one such on the inside right before Paredes gets back and snuffs out the danger.

29 mins: Wolfsburg break from a Barcelona free-kick that breaks down when a challenge on Putellas that the visitor think is a foul is not punished but Jonsdottir is hopelessly outnumbered down the left and is harried out of possession.

28 mins: Wolfsburg have some enterprise when they get the ball but they don’t have the options or guile that Barca have. And they’re beginning to concede niggly free-kicks.

23 mins: Huth, Wolfsburg’s brightest spark thus far, concedes a free-kick for hauling back Bonmati but Mapi Leon’s delivery is poor and lobbed into the hands of Schult.

22 mins: Bonmati has been everywhere so far, and she skips down the right before playing a clever cross back for Putellas, whose smart footwork is foiled by Wolfsburg having three players crowding her out and clearing.

21 mins: Huth breaks for Wolfsburg, seizing on a rare mistake and driving forward throigh the middle for 40 yards before playing Pajor in to her left but she’s dispossessed. And Barcelona clear the danger.

18 mins: Putellas sand-wedges a chip through to Rolfo on the left hand edge of the area but her shot is too high. And so it continues.

16 mins: Bonmati feeds Graham Hansen on the right whose cross is cleared by Wilms against a Wolfsburg hand but penalty appeals are waved away.

15 mins: Some deft skill from Rolfo gets her past Jonsdottir by the left byline but her cross sails over both keeper and teammates.

13 mins: Bonmarti finds a pocket of space to put Crnogoroevcic clear on the left but again Wolfsburg hustle and hassle back to clear. But possession imbalances beginning to show. The visitors have the ball, most of the time.

11 mins: Wolfsburg haven’t been pulled this way and that as they were in the first leg – yet – but those passing patterns are picking up pace and menace. The German side have been compact thus far though.

8 mins: Wolfsburg play it out patiently from the back in the face of Barcelona’s relentless press and a searching ball almost gets Jonsdottir clear on the right but she can’t bring it fully under control and Barca clear.

7 mins: Two chances in quick succession for the visitors, Bonmarti then Hermosa being played in in central positions but first Huth clears then Schult saves.

6 mins: Barca win a throw in a dangerous position on the right, it’s worked out right before Alexia is played in for her first opening but is well hustled out for a goalkick.

3 mins: And Wolfsburg break down the other end and nearly score! A cross from the right is met by Wassmuth’s header which has to be cleared off the line. They found some joy on the right there, the hosts.

2 mins: unlike at the Camp Nou Wolfsburg get through the first two minutes without conceding, but Barca monopolise possession and get a half-chance when Graham Hansen gets clear on the right but her cross is just behind the striker.

Peep! And Barcelona get us under way

Here come the teams …

There’s a decent atmosphere in the Wolfsburg Arena, and a fair smattering of visiting support – this has been a team worth travelling distances to see of late, of course.

Some pre-match reading: here’s our latest Moving The Goalposts newsletter, in which Sophie Downey looks at how the Cape Town club Badgers Academy are empowering girls and women in the community:

And you can sign up here to receive it in your inbox every week.

Meanwhile, as the WSL title race goes to the wire, Suzanne Wrack has been chatting to Arsenal’s manager, Jonas Eidevall.

Some pre-match chatter from the managers. Wolfsburg’s Tommy Stroot is demanding more from his side than they showed at the Camp Nou. “We are preparing for a game in which we want to show a different face,” he said. “We want to give it everything, regardless of the result. We want to get into the game in a completely different way.”

Barça’s Jonatan Giráldez, ominously, thinks they can still get better. “We must be able to start the game well as we did at Camp Nou. Even beyond the result there are always aspects to improve.”

The teams

Wolfsburg are again without Lena Oberdorf and also have Rebecka Blomqvist absent after her first-leg injury, and they line up like thus:

And here’s Barcelona’s starting XI:

Preamble

Barcelona are, by a distance, the best team in Europe. Even in the rigidly stratified world of modern elite football – both women’s and men’s – it is rare for such a statement about a team to be unarguable, but in the past couple of seasons Barça have become Harlem Globetrotter-esque standard-setters, dazzling and unstoppable in equal parts. They are 5-1 up against a storied Wolfsburg team, who lead the Frauen Bundesliga having won 16 of their 19 German top-flight games this season. All of which counted for diddly in the first leg, but which should give them some confidence and boldness going into the second leg at the Wolfsburg Arena, for which 20,000 tickets have been sold. They’ve also won this competition more than Barcelona have, for what it’s worth. Which isn’t likely to be much in the face of the visitors’ winning juggernaut. But let’s see anyway, and sit back and enjoy.

Kick-off 5pm BST.





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