A rampant FC Barcelona side made sure that the 91,648 fans (a new record, beating the one they set against Real Madrid) who showed up at Camp Nou did not leave disappointed. With the fans in full voice from the first whistle to the last, Barcelona put five goals past VfL Wolfsburg and put one foot firmly in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
Goals! Goals! Goals!
Barcelona got off to a fast start as they looked to impose their will on this game. After a very early chance, Aitana Bonmatí was played in by Patri Guijarro in the third minute and she held off her marker before finishing low past Almuth Schult in goal. Barcelona weren’t done however. Just seven minutes later, Caroline Graham Hansen picked up the ball just outside the area, slalomed into the box, dropped a shoulder before curling the ball past Schult.
The next goal came in the 33rd minute and in my opinion, it was the best goal of the night. Marta Torrejón played a great one-two with Patri before unselfishly squaring the ball to Jenni Hermoso. Hermoso wasn’t going to miss from there and seemingly passed the ball into the back of the net. The game could not have ended without Alexia Putellas having her say. Five minutes later, Patri was again a key component of the lead up to a goal as she played a great ball for Putellas to run on to. Schult managed to get something on it but Putellas followed up her own shot to knock in the rebound.
Wolfsburg got a goal of their own in the 70th minute thanks to Jill Roord. A quick move found the Dutch midfielder in space and finished well. After a long VAR check, she was ruled onside and gave Wolfsburg the slightest glimmer of hope. That was quickly extinguished in the 85th minute when Putellas scored a penalty, making her the current top goal scorer in the UWCL.
Barcelona’s midfield sets Camp Nou on fire
How much more can we write and praise the Barcelona midfield? Aitana Bonmatí, Alexia Putellas and Patri Guijarro have become a midfield trio that we haven’t seen in the women’s game, ever. The three of them understand each other and their roles completely, while also being able to know exactly when to pass, when to shoot and when to dictate the tempo.
Against Wolfsburg, the three made easy work of the German side and always ensured that the midfield battle as a 3v2 situation as often as they could. That meant that any time Jenni Hermoso, Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, Caroline Graham Hansen or Fridolina Rolfö got forward, the Barca midfield were able to find them out with ease.
Buoyed on by their fans, Bonmatí, Alexia and Patri were pulling off tricks and flicks around any Wolfsburg player that tried to close them down. They would then turn and play in a teammate on goal, emphasising their not only their tactical ability but also their technical ability. The entire Barcelona team deserves credit for their performance against Wolfsburg but those three are playing out of this world football right now, and deserve all the accolades they’re getting.
Tentative Wolfsburg make it easy for the hosts
Part of the reason why it seemed so easy for Barcelona to create chances was Wolfsburg’s overall defensive structure. They were torn apart too easily and Lena Oberdorf’s presence was dearly missed especially in the first half. Wolfsburg weren’t able to track any of their assigned Barcelona players and also couldn’t block off the passing lanes that Barcelona profited from. On top of that, Wolfsburg opted to play a high line in the first half which was punished time and time again by the likes of Rolfö, Crnogorčević, Graham Hansen and Putellas.
In fact, if it hadn’t been for Almuth Schult’s heroics in goal, the scoreline would’ve been much, much worse for the visitors. Over and over again, Schult was left exposed by her backline and she rose to the occasion, despite conceding so many goals. If anyone came out of tonight’s game in Barcelona with some credit for Wolfsburg, it was their goalkeeper.
She and her teammates now have a tall task in front of them next week in Germany. They somehow have to score five goals and not concede any. If Barcelona are in the same mood as they were tonight, that might prove to be an improbable ask for Wolfsburg.