VfL Wolfsburg (3) 1-1 (4) Olympique Lyonnais: Lyon crowned as champions of Europe for the third time

The French side are the new champions of the continent after leaving it to penalties to beat the Wolves in a dramatic UEFA Women's Champions League final.

VfL Wolfsburg (3) 1-1 (4) Olympique Lyonnais: Lyon crowned as champions of Europe for the third time
Lyon lift their third European title. (Photo: UEFA)
WOLFSBURG: (4-1-4--1)
1 1
LYON: (3-5-2)
WOLFSBURG: (4-1-4--1): SCHULT; PETER, FISCHER, GOESSLING, DICKENMANN; BLÄSSE (BUNTE 113'), BERNABER (WULLAERT 73'), BUSSAGLIA, KERSCHOWSKI; JAKABFI (BACHMANN 58'), POPP.
LYON: (3-5-2): BOUHADDI; M'BOCK BATHY, HENRY, RENARD; BREMER (THOMIS 86'), KUMAGAI, ABILY, NECIB, MAJRI; LE SOMMER (SCHEIN 79'), HEGERBERG
SCORE: 0-1, HEGERBERG 11'. 1-1. POPP 88'.
REFEREE: KATALIN KULCSÁR (HUN). BOOKED: NECIB 22', KUMAGAI 44', ABILY 101'

When Ada Hegerberg, who has been confirmed as the UEFA Women's Champions League top scorer with 13 goals, netted in early in the first half for Olympique Lyonnais, everything seemed to be already scripted.

Somehow, VfL Wolfsburg managed to snatch a late equaliser through Alexandra Popp, forcing an extra 30 minutes and eventually, the penalty shoot-out. Yet, they couldn't complete an unlikely comeback, with Lyon 4-3 victors on spot kicks to take the title.

Olympique Lyonnais by far the better team in the first 45 minutes 

Hegerberg celebrates breaking the deadlock. (Photo: UEFA)
Hegerberg celebrates breaking the deadlock. (Photo: UEFA)

Both teams applied an aggressive approach to the match, with Wolfsburg knocking on the door first as after 40 seconds. They were already whipping crosses into the box, without capitalising on them though.

Lyon replied quickly when, in the second minute, Eugenie Le Sommer tried to deliver a cross from the left flank, but goalkeeper Almuth Schult was immediately ready to clear the danger.

A few minutes later, it was Le Sommer again who had the chance to break the deadlock but her effort went inches wide.

The French side kept on prompting until finally they forged ahead through Hegerberg. Pauline Bremer received the ball wide on the right flank, outpaced Isabel Kerchowski and delivered a low cross, with Hegerberg having the easiest of tasks to net in the ball for 1-0.

On the 26th minute, Schult produced an outstanding save on Le Sommer’s effort to keep Wolfsburg in the match and the German side had almost availed from this situation when from their corner, Wendy Renard almost headed the ball into her own net, but the ball was deflected into corner.

In the final minutes of the first 45 minutes, Lyon preferred to hold the ball rather than pushing up front for the second goal, to end the first half leading Wolfsburg by one goal to nil. 

Alexandra Popp on top

Pope celebrates her dramatically late equaliser. (Photo: UEFA)
Pope celebrates her dramatically late equaliser. (Photo: UEFA)

After the interval, Lyon went immediately seeking the second goal and Renard almost managed to find it, but her excellent header was cleared off the line by Elise Bussaglia.

As time went by, the match looked stuck as both teams started to hold more possession, without forcing any type of offensive movements. Ralf Kellermann introduced new faces on the field to make a breakthrough into this match, however it was Lyon who knocked on the door again, this time with Louise Necib who tried her luck from outside the box but her effort went in vain.

Popp replied with low drive but her shot was too weak to concern Sarah Bouhaddi.

The biggest chance of the second half fell into Camille Abily's feet but, from inside the box, she could not fired home, shooting straight into the goalkeeper.

When Lyon seemed to be heading towards a deserved victory though, Popp popped up from nowhere and headed home to force an extra-time, amid the huge disappointment on Lyon's players' faces and the adrenaline in their opponents. 

Lyon go close in the extra-time, but nothing to separate them 

The next 30 minutes were far more exciting than the second half of regular time, as both teams had clear chances of goal where they could have gained advantage over their opponents.

The first initiative arrived from Popp, whose low drive went far from the post. On the other side, Necib tried her luck once again, but yet again she could not direct the ball into the net. Substitute Lotta Schelin had the biggest chance of the match when, within yards from Lyon's goalkeeper, the Swedish international surprisingly failed to connect with the ball, leaving it to Wolfsburg's goalkeeper.

In the second half, tiredness and injuries emerged as winners as the match was constantly stopped due to cramps and substitutes, leaving no space for any goal-scoring opportunity, bar another shot from Necib late in the match.

A penalty shoot-out had to be the final act of this never-ending final. 

Bouhaddi saves two as Lyon clinch European glory

Bouhaddi and Kumagai are mobbed by teammates after respectively edging their side to victory. (Photo: UEFA)
Bouhaddi and Kumagai are mobbed by teammates after respectively edging their side to victory. (Photo: UEFA)

The majority of the crowd was supporting the German side, and they all cheered Schult everytime she went between the posts. That seemed to be a huge advantage when, after Popp converted her penalty, Hegerberg saw her effort being parried by Schult.

However, we had a plot twist once again when, after four consecutive penalties converted from Isabel Kerschowski, Schelin, Babett Peter and Renard, captain Nilla Fischer missed her's, allowing Griedge M'Bock Bathy to level terms.

Elise Bussaglia then had her's brilliantly saved by Bouhaddi too, and it was all down to Saki Kumagai who, with a lot of composure, fired into the net to let the celebrations begin - Lyon were European champions for the third time, and treble winners 2015-16.

Wolfsburg watch on as Lyon lift the title. (Photo: UEFA)
Wolfsburg watch on as Lyon lift the title. (Photo: UEFA)