Chelsea vs VfL Wolfsburg preview: Can the Blues get the upper hand over in-form Wolves?

Chelsea vs VfL Wolfsburg preview: Can the Blues get the upper hand over in-form Wolves?

A repeat of last year's fixture, but this time at the Bridge.

Chloe Leadbeater

Chelsea face VfL Wolfsburg in the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32. This is Chelsea's second Champions League campaign and they will be looking to avenge last year's result.

Chelsea's first Champions League campaign

Last time around, it was Chelsea's first Champions League campaign. They qualified after just missing out on the title on goal difference to Liverpool in 2014.

In the round of 32, Chelsea faced Scottish champions Glasgow City at home first. With this being Chelsea's first time, it was going to be a tough match. The breakthrough came from  Fran Kirby, who had only signed three months before.

Millie Bright put the ball through to Kirby who then turned away from the defender, cut inside and shot from outside the box. Her effort smashed into the underside of the bar and went in to register Chelsea's first ever UWCL goal. Quite some season from an already record-breaking player.

The away leg wasn't as close though. Chelsea dominated this game on a cold Scottish night. Eni Aluko kicked off the scoring in the 22nd minute doubling Chelsea's aggregate lead. Kirby struck again in the second half and then Gilly Flaherty put the game beyond all doubt with Chelsea winning 4-0 on aggregate.

They then faced probably their toughest opposition ever; Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg are a powerhouse in women's football in Germany and it showed but Chelsea put in a decent performance. The first leg was at Staines and it was a game with most goals coming from unfortunate own goals. Wolfsburg took the lead just three minutes in with an own goal by Claire Rafferty, Chelsea then levelled thanks to an own goal from Babett Peter.

Wolfsburg took the crucial win when Caroline Graham Hansen scored just 12 minutes from time. The second leg was slightly more one sided. Vanessa Bernauer put the hosts ahead in just 12 minutes, and that left Chelsea with a mountain to climb if they were to progress. Sadly, any hope of that were extinguished with yet another unfortunate own goal by Rafferty. It was a baptism of fire for Chelsea in their debut campaign.

This time round

Chelsea will know how tough opponents Wolfsburg will be. The Wolves themselves had a really successful campaign last time as they were runners up to champions Lyon on penalties. They were also runners up in the Frauen Bundesliga losing out to a dominant Bayern Munich.

The last time that these two teams met, it was a month since the WSL season ended and the Frauen Bundesliga was still in action. With both teams in season and with plenty of match fitness, this tie should be much closer than before. Chelsea will be glad to be back to a fully fit squad with Claire Rafferty returning from concussion and Fran Kirby possibly returning from her knee fracture which put her out for 3 and a half months.

Having lost the title and FA Cup this season, Chelsea will be eager to really stamp their mark on this match. It is an even bigger occasion with the home leg taking place at Stamford Bridge so the atmosphere and the home crowd could spur Chelsea on to victory.

This game could be quite a spectacle. It could set an example and show that there is quite an interest in women's football in England and in general. Maybe we will see more WSL teams play in the bigger venues in the winter season next year.