UEFA Women's Champions League Final Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs VfL Wolfsburg

Unnati Naidu
ata Journalist and Photographer
June 1, 2023
8 min
Prepare for a thrilling match as FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg face off in the UEFA Women's Champions League final, setting the stage for a captivating duel.

Barcelona's remarkable journey sees them reach their fourth final in the past five years, a testament to their unwavering ambition and relentless pursuit of excellence in European competition. On the other hand, Wolfsburg, a formidable force in women's football, returns to the final for the first time since their defeat to Lyon in 2020. Barcelona aims to secure their second UWCL crown, while Wolfsburg seeks their third. With the reign of Lyon, Europe's dominant force, seemingly waning, this final in Eindhoven assumes great significance and promises a riveting contest. Barcelona enters the game as the favourite to not only win this match but also to take Lyon's throne, while Wolfsburg assumes the role of underdog.

Both teams have encountered injury woes and are not in their optimal form at this crucial juncture. As the final approaches, numerous parallels can be drawn between these two teams and their paths leading up to this momentous clash. Barcelona has only emerged victorious in one out of their previous five encounters with Wolfsburg, raising questions about the supposed dominance of the favourites. Thus, various intriguing queries arise in this battle.

The evolution of both Barcelona and Wolfsburg over time serves as a fascinating narrative, showcasing their growth, tactical adaptations, and the emergence of key players who have shaped their journeys to the final. Each position on the field presents an intriguing matchup, with both teams boasting formidable talent. The question of who will gain the upper hand in each position looms large, adding further anticipation to this clash of titans.

The defensive capabilities of both teams will play a pivotal role in determining the outcome. As the intensity mounts, which defense will show resilience and composure, and which one will crack under pressure? This crucial factor could potentially sway the balance of the game in favour of one team or the other.

With the final on the horizon, it's time to delve into the intricacies and thoroughly analyze both teams in anticipation of this highly awaited showdown.

Predictive Lineups: 

FC Barcelona


The lineup is similar to what we've seen from Barcelona this season in Alexia Putellas' absence. Lucy Bronze was injured during a league match against Sporting de Huelva and required an arthroscopy operation. The defender has fully healed and is already preparing for the finals. Marta Torrejón, could start in her place however we most likely see Lucy Bronze start the game. Fridolina Rolfö was also injured but has returned to training. Nuria Rabano is a backup for Rolfö however, she has never started a game of this magnitude for the club. Oshoala could be a doubt considering her injury. 

Alexia Putellas, while fit, would be more effective as a substitute. Since her recovery, the games leading up to the final have shown that the best player in the world will not want to miss out on helping her team win the prestigious trophy. 

VfL Wolfsburg


Wolfsburg, like Barcelona, has had its fair share of injuries. With Marina Hegering missing due to injury, Rauch-Janssen-Hendrich-Wilms is the most likely backline. Lena Lattwein's absence due to a fractured collarbone is yet another blow for the Wolves, who rely heavily on her.


Flashback to the Semi-Finals

Barcelona vs Chelsea 

UWCL Semi-Final – First Leg, Stamford Bridge 

Barcelona achieved their goal in the first leg of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge. Caroline Graham Hansen scored the first goal, taking advantage of the space and running deep to take a powerful strike. While Barcelona was defensively disciplined at Stamford Bridge, their pressing left a lot of room behind for Reiten to exploit on many occasions. The goal by Reiten which was later revealed offside was an excellent example. The good news was that Marta Torrejon's substitution for Lucy Bronze demonstrated her aerial supremacy. 

27th April 2023: Patri Guijarro (12 Barcelona) jumps over Maren Mjelde (18 Chelsea) during the UEFA Womens Champions League semi final match between Barcelona and Chelsea at Spotify Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain (Natalie Mincher/SPP) IMAGO

UWCL Semi-Final – Second Leg, Camp Nou

A narrow lead at Stamford Bridge meant that Chelsea came into the game to turn it around and win it. In some ways, they achieved that as well. They closed spaces effectively and limited turnovers. Barcelona took advantage of a counter-attack opportunity where Aitana Bonmati passed the ball to Caroline Graham Hansen in a 3v2 situation. Graham Hansen's goal gave Barca the lead however throughout the game, the players missed multiple opportunities to score. The goal by Guro Reiten came via the same mistake made by the Blaugrana defenders in the first leg. 


Wolfsburg vs Arsenal 

UWCL Semi-Final – First Leg, Volkswagen Arena 

Wolfsburg got off to a fast start at the Volkswagen Arena, with Ewa Pajor, the competition's leading scorer, sprinting behind the defence with Jonsdottir taking the central position and then passing to Pajor. Arsenal found it tough to overcome the spaces held on the right by Pajor and Jonsdottir. Wolfsburg, who had ups and downs during the season, did not appear confident in defending Arsenal. To even the score, the Gunners took advantage of this, notably during set pieces. While Wolfsburg had some fantastic clear-cut chances, they were unable to capitalise on them.

London, England, May 1st 2023: Frida Maanum (12 Arsenal) and Sveindis Jonsdottir (23 Wolfsburg) battle for the ball (duel) during the UEFA Womens Champions League semifinal football match between Arsenal and VFL Wolfsburg at Emirates in London, England. (Daniela Porcelli /Just Pictures /SPP) IMAGO

UWCL Semi-Final - Second Leg, Emirates Stadium

Wolfsburg failed to defend properly in the second leg of the semi-final, allowing Arsenal to take the lead via Stina Blackstenius. Blackstenius' strength bewildered the opposition, allowing her to push through for the goal. Arsenal's second goal came as a result of a failure in set-piece defence. Alexandra Popp's goal showcased her aerial abilities. She is the one to keep an eye out for headers. The ability of Wolfsburg to bring in guys like Jule Brand, who have shown to be dangerous on several occasions, illustrates the squad's depth. Jule Brand does extra-time wizardry to set up Pauline Bremer, advancing Wolfsburg to the finals. 


Drama in the Previous Meetings

Let's rewind to 2014 when Nadine Kessler, now UEFA's managing director of women's football, graced the field for Wolfsburg, while Alexia Putellas was on the rise for Barcelona. In that year, Wolfsburg emerged triumphant, capturing the UEFA Women's Champions League title. However, their journey crossed paths with Barcelona in the quarter-finals, leaving a lasting impact on both teams. Fast forward to 2020, and the Blaugranas suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in the semi-finals, with the goal scored by none other than Fridolina Rolfo, a memory that surely lingers among her teammates. These encounters have shaped Barcelona in numerous ways.

23.03.2014 Alexia Putellas and Luisa Wensing duel for the ball during the UEFA Women's Champions League between FC Barcelona vs VfL Wolfsburg. Photo by IMAGO

Barcelona found themselves in a different position in the 21/22 season. They rose to prominence, capturing the UWCL title in a thunderous fashion against Chelsea. The semi-final at Camp Nou, witnessed by a staggering 91,648 spectators, transformed the perception of women's football. The Blaugrana team put on a marvellous display, stunning Wolfsburg with a resounding 5-1 victory, a gesture of gratitude towards their loyal supporters. The return fixture at the Volkswagen Arena saw Wolfsburg strike back with a 2-0 win, but it fell short of overturning the aggregate scoreline.

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Svendis Jonsdottir and Alexia Putellas dueling for the ball during the UEFA Women's Champions League match between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. Photo by James Whitehead

Wolfsburg has proven capable of defeating Barcelona time and time again in the past, and both teams will be motivated by a desire for revenge in their upcoming encounter. Barcelona aims to establish their dominance in Europe following last season's loss in Turin, while Wolfsburg seeks redemption for their defeat at Camp Nou. Though Wolfsburg's inconsistent performances throughout the season may have been sufficient to overcome PSG and Arsenal, Barcelona presents a different challenge altogether. The lessons learned from the past have shaped Barcelona into a formidable force. Fatigue, evident in the previous season, has dissipated, and their objective is clear. The match promises to be a physically demanding yet exhilarating battle between two determined teams.


Action on June 3rd with Possible Impact of Substitutions

An intense battle is to be expected as these two teams showcase their distinctive styles. Wolfsburg's reputation for physicality and high-intensity play will clash with Barcelona's renowned tiki-taka and possession-based game. The stakes are high, with both teams eyeing the coveted trophy.


Analyzing each other's previous fixtures will be crucial for both sides. The initial twenty to thirty minutes will hold immense significance, as Barcelona will aim to score early and quickly. Both teams can make mistakes under pressure, but they are also capable of outscoring each other with their potent attacking prowess. Wolfsburg could exploit Barcelona in transitions through their pressing or by stifling their midfield.

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Svenja Huth and Patri Guijarro duel for the ball during the UEFA Women's Champions League match between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. Photo by James Whitehead

The depth of both squads will play a vital role in this closely contested match. From Barcelona's perspective, the return of Alexia Putellas in midfield could be a game-changer. The formidable trio of Alexia, Patri, and Aitana represents the face of Barcelona's midfield. The reintroduction of the 4-3-3 formation, with Alexia orchestrating the spaces, will provide a significant boost for the Catalans, especially against fatigued opponents in the latter stages of the game. Additionally, the inclusion of Claudia Pina as a false 9 will be of utmost importance. Substitutes like Ingrid Engen bring physicality and a tactical advantage against the Germans, while Salma Paralluelo's speed against Lynn Wilms or Felicitas Rauch will be pivotal. Barcelona's squad depth shines through, despite injury concerns throughout the season. Fortunately, they have managed to regain full strength before this crucial final.


Wolfsburg possesses not only the top scorer of the season but also the previous season. The ability to bring on players like Tabea Wassmuth alongside Ewa Pajor is a luxury for their coach. Fresh and rapid legs, such as Jule Brand, will be relied upon by Tommy Stroot to create magic and overcome Barcelona. Substitutions like Blomquist and Bremer will also be crucial for Wolfsburg.


Wolfsburg holds an advantage in Popp, known for her aerial dominance, while Barcelona has Caroline Graham Hansen, unbeatable in one-on-one situations. These two teams will go back and forth, challenging each other's strengths throughout the match.

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Asisat Oshoala, Kathrin Hendrich and Felicitas Rauch during the UEFA Women's Champions League match between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. Photo by James Whitehead

Who will lift the trophy on June 3rd?

Will Barcelona assert their dominance and solidify their status as the leading force in Europe, or will Wolfsburg spoil their celebration by claiming their third title? While Wolfsburg has enjoyed historical advantages, Barcelona has undergone significant transformations and is no longer the same team. The anticipated 8,000 passionate culers in Eindhoven will surely be raucous in support of their beloved team. Following their loss in Turin, the Blaugrana are determined not to disappoint their loyal fans. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain: the UEFA Women's Champions League final in Eindhoven promises to be a spectacular showcase of women's football. Who will emerge as the next European giants? Be prepared for a truly captivating spectacle. 


Don't miss a moment of the UEFA Women's Champions League final in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Catch all the action live in the US on ata football powered by DAZN Football and for the rest of the world on DAZN's UWCL YouTube Channel.


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