Positional Battles: Who Holds the Advantage in the UEFA Women's Champions League Final between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg?

Unnati Naidu
ata Journalist and Photographer
June 2, 2023
8 min
As the UEFA Women's Champions League final approaches, anticipation mounts for the showdown between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg. Both teams are prepared to battle it out for the coveted European title. With the game expected to be closely contested, the question arises: Who will hold the advantage in each position?


Sandra Paños - Merle Frohms

Both goalkeepers have faced difficult opponents in the run-up to the finals. Their different playing styles result in different positions within their teams. Wolfsburg's Merle Frohms fills in as an extra defender, frequently taking extra touches. Paos, the custodian for Barcelona, on the other hand, takes a more conventional approach.

Both Frohms and Paños have vast experience and knowledge of their respective teams. Given both sides' attacking strength, this forthcoming encounter promises to be exciting. Despite not having the most tenacious defences, both sides are capable of outscoring their opponents. If the game goes to a penalty shootout, the outcome will be highly reliant on the performance of these two goalkeepers.



Marta Torrejón - Lynn Wilms 

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

These two defenders are both enthralling but in different ways. Despite their differences, they have one thing in common: the capacity to break through opponent lines and make devastating advances. Marta Torrejón adds a plethora of defensive experience, establishing a strong link with Caroline Graham Hansen on the right wing. Marta's attacking attitude and aerial skill makes her a fearsome force, especially in corner situations, where Barcelona takes use of her presence in the box.

In contrast, Wilms, who normally plays the left side, has been forced to swap owing to Hegering's injury. While Marta has the advantage on offence, Wilms constantly demonstrates excellent defensive abilities. Their strengths add to the defensive line's overall success.


Irene Paredes - Kathrin Hendrich  

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Irene Paredes has established herself as a defender recognised for her tenacity in her second season with Barcelona. She participates in tackles fearlessly, even if they aren't always faultless. Furthermore, on set pieces and corners, Paredes offers a significant threat in the air, adding to Barcelona's offensive brilliance.

Both Paredes and Kathrin Hendrich excel at passing, but Hendrich stands out for her outstanding ability to drive the ball forward and penetrate the opponent's box. Wolfsburg, unlike Barcelona, does not rely much on midfield play, hence Hendrich's ability to move the ball and circumvent the middle is critical to their attacking plan.


María León - Dominique Janssen  

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Mapi León is largely considered one of the game's finest well-rounded centre-backs today. Her presence is critical to the solidity of Barcelona's backline since the squad struggles when she is out. León participates in tackles courageously and has the confidence to press forward with the ball into the opposing team's box. Her flexibility makes her a formidable opponent in both defensive and offensive scenarios.

Furthermore, León's calm and serene demeanour distinguished her, especially under duress. She has a cool head that helps her to make sensible judgements even in high-stakes situations. León's calm demeanour helps her avoid mistakes and keep control of the game. She also has a strong offensive sense, frequently catching opponents off guard with her unconventional style of play. Her efforts in the attacking third make her a dangerous and important Barcelona player.

Dominique Janssen plays as a disciplined centre-back for Wolfsburg, where her outspoken presence and leadership skills show. Her ability to properly organise and communicate with her colleagues enables a well-coordinated defence. Janssen's authoritative personality gives Wolfsburg's defence strength and organisation. Janssen, like León, can take risky free kicks, which adds another dimension to her game. It is worth mentioning, however, that Janssen's performance under duress has occasionally resulted in errors. While her general defensive talents are admirable, keeping her cool during vital moments may be difficult.


Fridolina Rolfö - Felicitas Rauch 

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Rolfö has made an impressive transition from winger to left-back under the tutelage of coach Jonatan Giráldez. Despite the positional change, the Swedish international has quickly adapted to her new role and proven to be a vital member of the club's squad. Giráldez's coaching ability was crucial in this conversion.

Felicitas Rauch, on the other hand, is a natural left-back with a skill set adapted to the position. Both players have similar characteristics, but Rauch's defensive qualities shine out, making her more powerful and dependable in that area. Rolfö, on the other hand, uses her great speed to her advantage when defending against opponents. Her speed and agility allow her to track back and make crucial interceptions. While her defensive approach may differ from Rauch's, Rolfö compensates with her rapidity and tenacity.

Despite their contrasting strengths, both players contribute significantly to their teams' defensive capabilities from the left-back position. Rolfö's successful transition highlights her adaptability and versatility, while Rauch's natural abilities and defensive solidity make her a reliable presence in Wolfsburg's backline.



Patri Guijarro - Jill Roord - Lena Oberdorf

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

With Alexia Putellas' injury making her unavailable in the midfield, Patri Guijarro stepped in to fill her position on the field. Traditionally deployed in a defensive role within the midfield, Guijarro faced a significant challenge by being asked to adapt to a new position. However, she rose to the occasion and demonstrated exceptional execution in her new role. Her ability to contribute effectively in both aspects of the game attests to her complete midfield prowess.

On the other hand, Jill Roord brings a different set of strengths to the midfield. She excels in dribbling, showcasing her ability to manoeuvre past opponents with skill and finesse. Roord's progressive passing skills enable her to initiate dynamic attacking movements, contributing to the team's ability to create scoring opportunities. Additionally, her capacity for recovery in midfield adds an extra dimension to her game, allowing her to regain possession and disrupt the opponent's play effectively.

In summary, Patri Guijarro's successful adaptation to a new position highlights her versatility and competence as a complete midfielder. While she is more balanced in both attacking and defensive aspects, Jill Roord's exceptional dribbling, progressive passing, and recovery skills make her an influential presence in the midfield as well. Together, Guijarro and Roord contribute to the team's overall strategy, each with their unique strengths and contributions.

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

When comparing Patri Guijarro to her direct competitor Lena Oberdorf, it becomes evident that they possess contrasting skill sets and playing styles. Oberdorf's strengths lie in her extensive defensive skills, elevated physicality, and impressive dribbling abilities. However, unlike Patri, Oberdorf tends to operate in deeper areas of the pitch rather than venturing forward frequently. Lena Oberdorf's defensive prowess makes her a formidable presence on the field. Her ability to read the game, make timely interceptions, and execute well-timed tackles showcases her defensive expertise. 


Aitana Bonmati - Svenja Huth

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Aitana Bonmati's role as a space manipulator in midfield and her ability to control the game make her an invaluable asset for Barcelona. Her accuracy in passing, vision for through balls, and skilled dribbling are all noteworthy aspects of her play. On the other hand, Svenja Huth's defensive work rate, combined with her comparable skill level, enhances her overall impact on the pitch. Both players contribute significantly to their teams, albeit with distinct playing styles and areas of focus.


Keira Walsh - Lena Oberdorf

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

The highly anticipated rematch between two pivots who previously faced off in the Euros promises to be an exciting clash. Keira Walsh, the latest addition to the Barcelona midfield, has swiftly adjusted to the team's style of play. Known for her ability to create opportunities, Walsh's exceptional passing accuracy adds a valuable dimension to Barcelona's midfield. Her quick adaptation to the team's tactics and seamless integration make her a formidable force on the pitch. In contrast, Lena Oberdorf brings a more physical presence to the midfield. Noteworthy for her strong defensive actions, Oberdorf is a robust player who can disrupt opponents effectively. Additionally, she occasionally contributes to the attack, showcasing her ability to join offensive movements from deeper positions.



Mariona Caldentey - Svendis Jonsdottir

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Svendis Jonsdottir showcases strength in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. Her speed and agility allow her to excel in tracking back the ball, making her an effective defensive asset. Jonsdottir's defensive contributions, coupled with her ability to swiftly transition into offensive plays, make her a valuable player in counter-attacks and quick attacking transitions. Mariona Caldentey's strengths lie predominantly in her passing abilities and progressive play, allowing her to control the game's tempo and create scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, Svendis Jonsdottir's versatility as a player who contributes in both offense and defense provides her team with added flexibility and solidity. Her ability to advance the ball with precise and forward-thinking passes adds dynamism to her team's attacking play. Caldentey's got a knack for recovering possession in crucial areas of the pitch and influences the team's build-up.


Caroline Graham Hansen - Alexandra Popp

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Graham Hansen is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in the world, demonstrating unparalleled prowess on the field. Her remarkable ability to triumph in one-on-one situations makes her virtually unbeatable, a skill that Barcelona consistently capitalizes on in their gameplay. Hansen's aptitude for taking the ball into the box, unleashing powerful shots from outside the box, and delivering accurate passes exemplify her versatility as an attacker. Furthermore, her propensity for embarking on high progressive runs contributes significantly to her team's offensive dynamism.

In contrast, Alex Popp brings a different dimension to the game with her physicality, setting her apart from Hansen. Renowned for her aerial prowess, Popp ranks among the best in the world in this aspect. Additionally, her capacity to track back defensively and execute effective progressive passes showcases her ability to contribute both offensively and defensively.


Asisat Oshoala - Ewa Pajor 

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Data Chart by Marc Lamberts // ShePlots

Oshoala is a more conventional striker, known for her proficiency in taking shots on goal. While she possesses a powerful strike, her accuracy may not be her strongest attribute. On the other hand, Pajor surpasses Oshoala in nearly every aspect of the game. Whether it's in terms of technical ability, tactical awareness, or overall effectiveness, Pajor excels. Her skills and contributions transcend those of Oshoala, making her a standout player in various situations on the field.



Jonatan Giraldez - Tommy Stroot

The final in Eindhoven will be Tommy Stroot's first and third for Jonatan Giraldez. Giraldez's experience of winning the Champions League with Barca in 2021 as the assistant coach will be very useful. But that doesn't mean Tommy Stroot is lacking in any way. He has figured out once on how to beat Barcelona so it will be interesting to see if he can do it again. Both coaches have been dominant domestically but have also faced losses and close calls recently. How they adapt to this is certainly going to be a sight. 


The clash at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven promises to be a spectacle, regardless of the outcome. However, if Barcelona establishes a strong start, it seems inevitable that they will emerge victorious. Wolfsburg must maintain their composure and remain fully focused throughout the game to contend against Barcelona. The crowning of the next European giants awaits after this intense battle. Brace yourself for the excitement that lies ahead. Make sure not to miss a single moment of the UEFA Women's Champions League. 

For viewers in the US, the game will be available live on ata football, powered by DAZN. If you are located anywhere else in the world, enjoy the comprehensive coverage of the final on DAZN's UWCL YouTube channel.

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