Wolfsburg defy the odds
by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (May 23rd 2013)
Efficiency trumps flair
German champions Wolfsburg overcame formidable odds to wrest the women’s Champion’s League trophy from the grasp of the formidable Olympique Lyonnais. World Cup winner Martina Müller’s 75th minute penalty proved decisive in denying the French trailblazers what would have been an unprecedented third consecutive title.
The normally irrepressible Camille Abily showed glimpses of a rare talent in the women’s game, but occasional frailty too. The prolific Conny Pohlers – the first woman to win three Champion’s League titles with three different clubs wanted a penalty for a slight push by Louisa Necib. Referee Teodora Albon was unimpressed, but swiftly penalised Laura Georges for handball. Sarah Bouhaddi guessed right but could not keep Müller’s penalty out. Pohlers was later substituted after a poor challenge by Connie Franco, who landed studs first on Pohlers’ shin. The German striker was understandably unimpressed. She was replaced shortly afterwards.
Despite creating far more chances Lyon who had conceded just one goal on route to the final could not find a way past Alisa Vetterlein in Wolfsburg’s goal. By her own high standards Abily had a frustrating game. Her first shot produced a corner which resulted in Amandine Henry heading just over. Abily then missed a sitter and responded by fouling the keeper. Lotta Schelin’s curling effort was spilled and grabbed by Vetterlein while Abily tried to net the rebound even though Vetterlein had her hand on the ball.
The Baton is passed
Müller’s effort from just beyond the area was the best the German’s produced in the first half, but the 33 year-old veteran was at the heart of Wolfsburg’s counter-attacking tactic. Abily was incensed when denied a penalty after being found in the area by Lara Dickenmann who replaced American Megan Rapinoe at half time, only to be replaced by Arnel Majri for the last minute of normal time.
For all their pretty build-up play Lyon could not convert their chances. Abily had an effort saved on the line, but the defending champions’ shooting was profligate. Müller’s neat back-heel as the final whistle beckoned gave substitute Lina Magull an opportunity to seal the win, but her shot went just wide. Lyon outshot Wolfsburg by almost 3 to 1 with four times as many efforts on target, but the one statistic that mattered meant that Germany will celebrate being champions of Europe for both women and men.