UEFA Women's Champions League – VfL Wolfsburg (4) 1-1 (1) Chelsea: Bitty draw enough for the hosts

Eni Aluko's first-half strike was enough to give the visitors hope in Germany but it was ultimately for nought.

UEFA Women's Champions League – VfL Wolfsburg (4) 1-1 (1) Chelsea: Bitty draw enough for the hosts
VfL Wolfsburg
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VfL Wolfsburg: Schult, Jakabfi, Fischer (c), Gunnarsdóttir, Peter, Blasse, Popp, Dickenmann, Hansen (Mittag, min. 73), Kerschowski (Wullaert, min. 46), Goeßling (Bernauer, min. 90+1)
Chelsea: Lindahl, Bright, Flaherty, Fahey, Blundell, Borges, Chapman (c), Carney, Ji, Davison, Aluko (Rafferty, min. 89)
SCORE: 0-1, min. 43, Aluko. 1-1, min. 80, Gunnarsdóttir.
REFEREE: Carina Vitulano (ITA)
INCIDENTS: UEFA Women’s Champions League match between VfL Wolfsburg and Chelsea, held at the AOK Stadium, Wolfsburg.

Despite being the team on top for most if not all of the match, Chelsea failed to overturn their heavy defeat, or just hold onto a narrow win at the AOK and were once more dumped out of the UEFA Women's Champions League by VfL Wolfsburg.


For the first time all year, Chelsea were playing without pressure; with no-one expecting them to do anything away to last year’s runners up, the Blues were allowed to go out and have fun. With no consequences, the visitors started strongly, keen to test out a vacant opposition, the Wolves seemingly still stuck in the dressing room at Stamford Bridge. Even with the Blues controlling the game in midfield, the game refused to spark into life, the visitors were sloppy in the final third, as half-chances went begging.

The hosts went forward intermittently though still looked absent, with no real cohesion in the side as lynchpins like Lena Goeßling couldn’t find a touch or a pass, Alexandra Popp half interested but rarely receiving any service, neither of her first-half headers looked dangerous. Happy to sit back, all the hosts had to do was remain half switched on in defence, their one objective was not to concede three.

The first-half was summed up two minutes before the break as Eni Aluko rushed onto a terribly weighted back-pass form Isabel Kerschowski, with the German international barely interested in clearing the ball. Aluko needed no more encouragement and sprinted after the ball, with Almuth Schult coming out and going low the Chelsea number nine remained the picture of composure to fire the ball into the far corner, out of the stretch of Schult’s outstretched boot.

Chelsea fought hard but fell short.
Chelsea fought hard but fell short.

With one half-time substitution that saw Kerschowski make way for Tessa Wullaert as well as a stern team-talk from Ralf Kellermann, the hosts came into the second-half with far more interest in the game, doing their best to work their opposition. Still a little fragmented in attack the home defence was at least, sured up; Gemma Davison and Karen Carney were kept mostly quiet. But as is so often the case when you don’t come into a game switched on and “up” for the occasion it’s hard for any team to get going and the home fans weren’t given the chance to relax at any point.

After some neat work to get forward and a superb solo run from Ana Borges, the ball came out to Carney who took her shot first time but the attacker could only strike the corner of the woodwork with her 25-yard drive. The goal would have been a special one but it would have also left the hosts scrambling but as it was they lived to battle another day, still at odds and ends on the field.

Unexpected equaliser

Despite arguably being the better side on the night, Chelsea consistently struggled in attack, still needing at least two goals, Wolfsburg just had to watch the clock run down. Even with Aluko persistently hounding Nilla Fischer and Schult the ball refused to drop for the attacker and as she pushed even higher up against Schult the keeper sent the ball away. Still scrappy in their approach following a throw-in, Anna Blässe’s cross found Sara Bjork Gunnarsdóttir who smashed the ball in from ten yards, Hedvig Lindahl had no chance of reaching the ball as it found the top corner.

A lack of punch up top once again undid Chelsea who were unlucky to not even win the match. With the tie mostly put to bed in London, Emma Hayes at least watched her side go out fighting, the performance a promise of a better 2017 season after a disappointing 2016. Eleven months have passed since Chelsea were first eliminated from the competition in Wolfsburg, the Blues have once again fallen to an aggregated 4-1 defeat.

Disinterested throughout the first-half and barely managing to find their feet in the second, Wolfsburg rode their luck at times, a poor mentality coming into the game almost their undoing at home, they live to fight another day in Europe.