Everything all at once
After a scoreless 90 minutes, Wolfsburg lined up against Lyon for extra time for the second time in three years though unlike Lyon’s last two finals (against PSG last year and WOB the year before) the match finally found a goal in extra time. In fact, the match found five goals in extra time, following Pernille Harder’s opener three minutes into the 30, Alex Popp was promptly dismissed for a second yellow leaving the Wolves a player light. Down to ten and with speed fiend Shanice van de Sanden brought on to the French champions, Wolfsburg buckled, conceding three in five minutes, van de Sanden the catalyst.
Though Fischer was rightly unwilling to put the blame at Popp’s feet, she admitted it was very quickly a cumulative thing, the team already looking short of energy before Harder’s goal.
“It’s everything, it’s the red card then they scored and you know you’re one player less and it’s really tough to try to get back and we tried to play some counter attacks but we didn’t have the power to succeed.”
A class above in Germany this season, Wolfsburg’s route to Kyiv included picking up both pieces of domestic silverware in Germany and whilst the UWCL final loss is still raw the defender knows the team will be able to look back on the season with pride in due time.
“Now of course it feels really disappointing but in the end we have to be proud because we played a good season, we have two titles and we really gave Lyon a tough game.”
Well talked about, the Wolves came into the game having played eight matches in 32 days including taking the DFB Pokal final to penalties on the Saturday before the Thursday evening kick off in the Ukraine. The run-in a two-edged sword for the Swede, though happy to be involved and playing so much, keeping the team in flow, Fischer admits that the extra minutes at the RheinEnergieStadion might not have been the best preparation ahead of flying to Eastern Europe.
“It’s hard to say, of course it would be good for us if we had a whole week to prepare but it’s also good for us to have many games because you stay in the zone. But I think it would be good for us if we didn’t play 120 minutes five days before the final but it’s not an excuse… and it’s also very fun to play all the games.”
An injury to regular centre-back partner Babett Peter has seen Fischer paired with midfielder, Lena Goeßling. Whilst the defender is happy that the three senior players have a natural understanding she’s also full of praise for Joelle Wedemeyer, the 21-year-old brought on part-way through the final after an injury to Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir saw Goeßling pushed back into midfield.
“I think it works fine with all of the central defenders, me, Babs and Lena have a lot of a experience that Joelle might not have and she did really well, she’s an upcoming player. One of Lena’s strengths is that she’s very good with the ball and having that kind of player in defence is good for the team too.”