Sports Mole previews Friday’s Women’s Champions League clash between Barcelona Women and Wolfsburg Women, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The hosts ousted their rivals Real Madrid in the previous round, while Wolfsburg eliminated Arsenal to book their place in the final four.
Barcelona are just three games away from retaining their European crown, but although they may be favourites for the Champions League title, they will be fully aware of the threat posed by an in-form Wolfsburg side.
After finishing top of their group, Barcelona brushed aside Real Madrid in the quarter-final thanks to an 8-3 aggregate victory, which included a 5-2 win in the second leg in a contest that was played in front of the biggest official crowd in women’s football history.
Since that second leg victory, the European champions have thrashed Villarreal 6-1 before they maintained their 100% record in all competitions with a 2-0 win away to Valencia on Saturday.
Having swept past all challengers this season, Barcelona can make it 40 wins from 40 games in the season if they can emerge victorious from the first leg on Friday.
Jonathan Giraldez‘s side will be looking to make home advantage count, and their home form suggests they have every chance of doing just that, with all of their 17 competitive home games this season yielding at least four Barcelona goals.
Wolfsburg also enter Friday’s first leg in imperious form as they bid to extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions, while they are also searching for a fifth consecutive victory.
Like their hosts, Die Wolfinnen are also dreaming of winning a treble, with Wolfsburg currently top of the Frauen-Bundesliga, and they are also in the DFB-Pokal final after beating Bayern Munich at the weekend.
Sunday’s semi-final against Bayern represented the second victory against their rivals in as many games as they followed a comprehensive 6-0 win with a 3-1 victory in the final four of the domestic cup competition.
If Tommy Stroot‘s side are looking for inspiration ahead of the first leg, then they may find it in their previous three meetings with Barcelona, which have all been won by Wolfsburg with the most recent of those being a 1-0 win in the 2019/20 edition of the Champions League.
Barcelona Women Women’s Champions League form:
Barcelona Women form (all competitions):
Wolfsburg Women Women’s Champions League form:
Wolfsburg Women form (all competitions):
Mariona Caldentey and Asisat Oshoala returned to training this week after their injury layoffs, and they could be involved in some capacity in the first leg, although a place in the starting lineup is unlikely for either player as Barcelona look to ease them back into the fold.
There could be a place in the starting lineup for Claudia Pina, who has also returned to training following an injury issue that kept her out of Saturday’s game against Valencia.
Caroline Graham Hansen also missed the weekend encounter after testing positive for COVID-19, but Barcelona are hopeful that the Norway international will recover in time for Friday’s contest.
As for the visitors, they were dealt a blow at the weekend, when Lena Oberdorf picked up a knee injury that will rule the midfielder out of the first leg in Barcelona
Wolfsburg did receive a boost at the end of March after Ewa Pajor returned from a long injury layoff in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final tie with Arsenal, and the Poland international is expected to be amongst the substitutes on Friday.
Wassmuth is the current topscorer in the Champion League – Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas is in second place – and the 25-year-old will be aiming to add to the nine goals she has scored in Europe this season, when she leads the line for Wolfsburg against the European champions.
Barcelona Women possible starting lineup:
Panos; Torrejon, Paredes, Leon, Ouahabi; Bonmati, Putellas, Guijarro; Hansen, Rolfo, Pina
Wolfsburg Women possible starting lineup:
Schutt; Wilms, Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch; Popp, Lattwein; Huth, Roord, Jonsdottir; Wassmuth
We say: Barcelona Women 3-1 Wolfsburg Women
Although we expect Wolfsburg to present their hosts with a stiff test, Barcelona have demonstrated over the last couple of seasons that they are a step ahead of the competition, and we think they will emerge victorious once again on Friday.