Barcelona completed a simply incredible comeback to win their second Women’s Champions League title on Saturday, defeating Wolfsburg 3-2 in the final.
The German side got off to a flying start, their high press immediately paying dividends when Ewa Pajor robbed Lucy Bronze of the ball in a dangerous area and fired a powerful shot into the back of the net from the edge of the box. That lead would be doubled before the break when Alex Popp out-muscled Mapi Leon and burst into the area to get on the end of Pajor’s superb delivery.
Barca looked lethargic and anything but their usually sharp selves, but chances still came. Fridolina Rolfo was a fantastic outlet on the left and delivered numerous good crosses, one of which Caroline Graham Hansen was so close to converting. Irene Paredes inexplicably missed a free header from close range after a corner, while Salma Paralluelo was also denied brilliantly by goalkeeper Merle Frohms from point blank range.
It was a different story after the break, though. This time, it was Barca who came out of the blocks quickest, with Patri Guijarro scoring two goals in quick succession to level the scores up by the 50th minute. The midfielder was allowed to wander into the box completely unmarked for both, before putting the finishing touches on great work by Graham Hansen and, later, Aitana Bonmati.
The winning goal, though, featured even more shocking defending. Lynn Wilms had the ball inside her own box and smashed the clearance against her team-mate, Kathrin Hendrich. From there, chaos ensued, with the ball eventually falling at the feet of Rolfo, who was never going to miss. It completed Barca’s incredible comeback, with them able to navigate the final 20 minutes with relative comfort to lift a second Champions League title.
Rolfo bagged the winner but it was Guijarro who changed this game. She is not known for her goalscoring, but more her incredible influence on Barca’s play from deep in midfield. Often described as one of the most underrated players in the game, she got her moment in the spotlight on Saturday – and what an occasion to get it on.
It’s difficult to sugarcoat the mistake that Wilms made for the winning goal. She appeared to have a lot of time to clear the ball and could’ve hit it almost anywhere to do so. But that she found the face of her team-mate, and when she did, caused the pinball in the area that led to Barca going 3-2 up.