Women's Champions League Final: Can Wolfsburg Stun Best In The World Barca?

Barcelona are in their third final in three seasons...
19:00, 02 Jun 2023

On Saturday afternoon, two of the giants of European football meet as Barcelona take on Wolfsburg in the women’s Champions League final. A packed out Phillips Stadium in Eindhoven will give this final the backdrop it deserves, as the historical might of the Germans takes on arguably the best team on the planet. 

This will be Barca’s third consecutive appearance in the Champions League final, having been beaten by Lyon in Turin last year, but there’s little doubt that Jonatan Giráldez’s team have established themselves as the finest on the planet. They were favourites for last season’s final but were blown away by Lyon early on, while Betfred price them as heavy favourites, 4/11 to win the game in 90 minutes, this time around. 

They’ll be wary of learning from last year’s final. Lyon, spearheaded by Ada Hegerberg, scored three in 33 minutes and blew them away, just as Barca had done to Chelsea in the previous season as they scored four in 36 minutes. It's clear a rapid start can decide a final before it has even got going, but what we see this time around could be more pragmatic. 


It won’t be easy for Barca. Wolfsburg showed in their semi-final success over Arsenal that they have the defensive maturity to cope with pressure, before launching devastating counter-attacks. They are also strong from set-pieces and as they showed at Arsenal, have a huge amount of heart when it comes to the heat of the battle. 

They’ve also got an elite goalscorer in Alexandra Popp and the pace of Sveindis Jonsdottir and Ewa Pajor can cause problems once they launch a devastating counter-attack. Sometimes, they are actually happier when the other side has the ball, knowing they might get a chance to force a mistake with their press - which is exactly how they won the semi-final in the last minutes of extra-time. 

Barcelona lost their first game of the season on the final day in La Liga, and their main worry in recent weeks has been trying to coax Alexia Putellas back to fitness. The two-time Ballon d’Or winner has missed the majority of the season with a knee injury but returned for the final day, although it is yet to be seen whether she will be thrown in from the start on Saturday. 


Lioness Keira Walsh should start in midfield but Barca have a whole host of options, including 16-year-old Vicky Lopez who made her debut this season and has impressed across seven appearances. What a story it would be if she could make some sort of impact on this final, but winning the midfield contest will be key.

Intriguingly, these two met in the quarter-finals last year as Barcelona beat the German champions 5-3 on aggregate on their way to the final. But after a heavy loss at a sold-out Camp Nou, the Germans did manage to win 2-0 on home soil. It means this season’s one-off match-up, amid more pressure than ever, is not as one-sided as the bookies predict.

It’s something that the manager Tommy Stroot is taking into the final in Eindhoven. "Last year, we managed, [in one leg], to defeat Barcelona. We know what to expect and what challenge awaits us.

"Despite that, and due to our development from last season, we are capable of defeating Barcelona in a game. That will be our challenge. We know that it is the biggest challenge that we will face this year, but we also know it's possible because of the second leg we had.”

This fascinating final should attract a huge worldwide audience, but one thing that must be questioned is the kick-off time. It begins at 3pm, the same time as the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Manchester City at Wembley. Had this game been played on Saturday night, as the men’s finals traditionally are, the television audience would have been far greater. Although women’s football shouldn’t bend around men’s football, when it makes sense to maximise audience interest, surely a sensible agreement can be found. 

Nevertheless, if you tune in for this one, you are in for a treat. Can Barcelona win their second title in two years or will Wolfsburg win Europe’s premier competition for the first time in a decade? 

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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