Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger continued her Champions League heroics with a sensational display as the Blues secured an important 2-1 win against Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. It was a remarkable result for a side who were under the cosh for the majority of the game and had their goalkeeper to thank on multiple occasions as the German side failed to make the breakthrough.
In the last round, Berger saved two Atletico Madrid penalties in the first leg as Chelsea came through having played the majority of that game with just ten players. This display didn’t feature any penalty heroics, but her overall display proved once again she is one of the finest goalkeepers on the planet.
Wolfsburg were on top throughout and came out of the blocks quickly, first hitting the post from close range as Ewa Pajor crossed for Alexandra Popp, who got a touch ahead of the Chelsea keeper, but couldn’t get her effort on target. That right-hand side continued to provide the German sides’ best chance of success as they again peppered the Chelsea back four.
Svenja Huth put in a wonderful ball into the box while Popp was there to put the into the net, she had clearly used her arm to guide the ball home, and that was well spotted by the referee who ruled the goal out.
On 20 minutes, the side in green were denied by some last-ditch defending. Berger denied Fridolina Rolfo from close range with some excellent saves in quick succession before Pajor's overhead kick was headed off the line by Jonna Andersson. Chelsea were clinging on by their fingernails but made it to half-time unscathed. Wolfsburg hit the post for the second time after the break before Chelsea took charge of the tie, scoring with their first shot on target. Ji So-yun finally found a spot of space and fed the ball through to Sam Kerr who rounded the keeper and finished from a tight angle.
Then one of the saves of the tournament happened at the other end, as Berger continued to shine in the Chelsea goal. This time it was Popp who crossed for Fridolina Rolfo, who met the ball flush on the volley with a thumping left-footed effort from six yards out, but somehow Berger reacted and kept the ball out. It was an absolute worldie save.
Then Chelsea doubled their lead, against the run of play once again, as Pernille Harder scored against her former club to make it 2-0 after a huge mix-up in the Wolfsburg defence. She was there to calmly side foot home from inside the box to put Chelsea in the driving seat.
Wolfsburg continued to flood forward and finally got their away goal from the penalty spot after Eriksson clearly tripped Huth in the box. Dominique Janssen gave Berger no chance from the spot but the keeper would continue to claim crosses and relieve pressure on her defence late on, even when seemingly struggling with a groin injury. She got down low to save from Rebecka Blomqvist in injury time to keep Chelsea’s lead intact, before her bravery won her the ball ahead of Popp, as the two women crashed together in the final seconds. This was a heroic display.
Emma Hayes will be delighted with this performance from her number one while the clinical nature of her forwards mean that the quadruple dream is still alive. In the other quarter-final involving an English team, Manchester City were heavily beaten, losing 3-0 to Barcelona in a game that surely sees them eliminated from the competition, barring a second leg miracle.