On Thursday, May 22, 2014, a capacity crowd at Lisbon’s Estádio do Restelo awaited the start of UEFA Women’s Champions League final between VfL Wolfsburg of Germany and Tyreso FF of Sweden. The defending champions Wolfsburg were without their accomplished midfielders, Zsanett Jakabfi and Lina Magull and this could have been one reason why Tyreso were able to make deep inroads in the Wolfsburg territory as the game started. As the game began, Tyreso star Christen Press was seen moving swiftly towards Wolfsburg penalty area but she was nicely tackled by Josephine Henning. Regardless, Tyreso pinned Wolfsburg with a combination of Spanish striker Veronica Boquete, Press and Marta. Football fans were immediately reminded of last year’s final at London, where Wolfsburg were kept under pressure by 2012 winners Olympique Lyonnais, until a Martina Muller penalty gave them a 1-0 victory.
After being raided by Tyreso forwards for the first 10 minutes, Wolfsburg retaliated, when Anna Blasse sent a fine cross to Alexandra Popp, whose header went wide. Wolfsburg came close to scoring yet again, when Captain Nadine Kessler’s pass was wasted by Muller. It was a close-range affair with just the Tyreso goalkeeper to beat but Muller muffed it. The scene quickly shifted to the other half, where Veronica Boquete got the ball and smartly directed it to Marta. The brilliant Brazilian forward ran towards the goal, beating three defenders on her way, before striking the ball past the befuddled Almuth Schult to make it 1-0 for Tyreso in the 28th minute. Two minutes later, a brilliant move from Christen Press resulted in another goal. Press made a diagonal run to the left byline and this caused Wolfsburg to leave the right side vacant. Press then sent a looping cross on the right to Boquete, who made no mistake with volleying into the goal. Wolfsburg tried to fight back but Tyreso defended well in denying attempts from Muller and Wagner in quick succession. When the teams went off the field at half-time Tyreso had an upper hand with 2-0 lead.
Within two minutes from the break, Wolfsburg reduced the margin, when Alexandra Popp did not make a mistake in heading an Anna Blasse cross into the goal. The rejuvenated Wolfsburg kept the pressure up first, when Muller had the ball in the penalty area but Tyreso goalkeeper Soberg denied her the chance. Another opportunity was lost, when Nadine Kessler was tackled successfully by Meghan Klingenberg. But Wolfsburg did not have to wait long for the equalizer. In the 53rd minute, Martina Muller picked up the ball in the midfield and broke into a solo all the way to the goal with a brilliant finish. At 2-2, the game came alive and Tyreso mounted another attack through the magnificent Marta. The Brazilian got the ball in the box and produced a curling shot, which sailed majestically into the goal. Tyreso supporters were jubilant as the Swedish club led again 3-2. But 12 minutes later, Wolfsburg produced another equalizer. This time it was Verena Faisst, who was fed a nice ball by Popp and the birthday girl timed a brilliant low shot into the goal.
The teams fought on for superiority from this point onwards. The winning goal came in the 80th minute in one of the most elegant ways. Nadine Kessler picked up the ball and went dribbling through a maze of defenders. She finally managed to dodge three players in her own inimitable way and then smartly chipped the ball for Muller, who was in a great position. In a truly grandstand finish, Martina Muller got the victory goal just as she had done last year. It was one of the best sights of the night and Nadine Kessler was rightly named as the Player of the Match for her overall effort. Despite Tyreso’s courageous performance from its players, especially Marta and Caroline Seger, Wolfsburg showed its class, when it mattered most. The German clubs have been dominant in women’s premier league’s 13 seasons so far and Wolfsburg’s victory was the 8th time that a German team lifted the champions trophy.
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