Women’s report: Wolfsburg 4 Chelsea 0

Emma Hayes’ side were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage against Wolfsburg at the AOK Stadium this evening.

A few days on from our FA WSL defeat away to Reading, the Blues came up against a powerful Wolfsburg side in the UWCL. Wolfsburg needed to beat the Blues by more than two goals to progress through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Hayes made four changes to the side that started against Reading on Saturday, with Sophie Ingle, Pernille Harder, Guru Reiten and Fran Kirby replacing Jess Fleming, Beth England, Jonna Andersson and Drew Spence.

Jess Carter was called into action immediately to hack clear a dangerous ball down the flank. Moments later, Svenja Huth burst down the right-wing and whipped an inviting ball towards the six-yard box, however Zecira Musovic did well to collect.

The Blues’ first real chance of the game came early on. Pernille Harder received the ball just outside the area and struck thunderously just over Almuth Schult’s bar.

The German side enjoyed possession in the early stages and looked threatening in wide areas. Huth, who was dangerous from the off, picked out Tabea Wassmuth who headed over from close range.

Wolfsburg almost took the lead nine minutes in when Lena Oberdorf’s effort from the edge of the box just scurried past Musovic’s far post. We also had our fair share of chances in the opening stages. Millie Bright floated a ball into the path of Harder down the wing who then drilled the ball across goal for the incoming Kirby, but Schult did well to pounce on the ball and claim.

One minute after that fine chance, Wolfsburg took the lead through Huth. The initial shot at Musovic was saved however Huth was on hand to fire the rebound past Musovic.

Hayes’ side reacted immediately after going down, winning a corner. Reiten’s ball in was hacked clear. Shortly after, Eriksson whipped in another dangerous ball but the Wolfsburg defence remained strong and managed to get the ball back under their control.

Just moments later Wolfsburg doubled their lead through Huth again. Wassmuth threaded the ball to Felicitas Rauch, the forward sent in a low cross and Huth was on hand to tap the ball in.

The Blues almost got one back just a few minutes later. Erin Cuthbert, who made her 150th appearance for Chelsea this evening, floated in a cross met by Sam Kerr on the back post, but the Australian’s strike bounced off the bar.

Hayes’ side weren’t short of set-piece chances, however similarly to Saturday, the Blues couldn’t make the most of them. Reiten sent in another good free-kick that was again aimed at Kerr, who couldn’t get the ball out of her feet quick enough before it was then hacked clear.

Six minutes before the interval Wolfsburg had a chance to make it three through Shanice van de Sanden. Rauch flicked the ball on for van de Sanden in the box but Musovic managed to parry the ball away.

Ji So-Yun was brought on shortly before the break and made an immediate impact. Kirby and Kerr combined well on the right, the latter cleverly flicked the ball on to Ji who made a run into the box, and the South Korean’s effort was brilliantly saved by Schult.

Hayes’ side came out strong at the start of the second half, immediately gaining a good opportunity to get one back. Leupolz headed just over while Kirby had set herself up to volley the ball.

The Blues’ hopes of qualifying to the quarter-final took a turn for the worse when Wassmuth scored Wolfsburg’s third. Substitute Pauline Bremer threaded the ball through and Wassmuth coolly slotted the ball past Musovic.

Chelsea struggled to find any rhythm following the third goal, making their frustrations clear. Harder was booked for a foul on Lattwein. 

The hosts had a flurry of chances to make it four in the later stages of the game. Lattwein threaded the ball into the path of Wassmuth whose strike hit the side netting.

Nouwen had the best chance of the second half for the Blues when her header ricocheted off the bar, with the Wolfsburg defence quick to loop the ball clear before a rebound.

The defeat was sealed with just over 10 minutes to go. Wassmuth got her second of the game when she was played through on goal. The forward made no mistake and fired past Musovic into the top corner to send Wolfsburg through to the quarter-finals.

It’s another quick turnaround for the Blues who host West Ham United at Kingsmeadow on Sunday in the FA WSL, Hayes’ side will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing evening in Germany.

Wolfsburg (4-3-3) Schult, Hendrich, Oberdorf, Janssen, Lattwein, Huth (c), Rauch, Roord (Knaak 81), van de Sanden (Bremer 57), Wedemeyer, Wassmuth (Wilms 84)
Unused subs Weib, Blasse, Starke, Smits, Svava, Doorsoun-Khajeh, Cordes
Goals Huth 16, 23, Wassmuth 60, 78
Booked Oberdorf 90

Chelsea (3-4-3) Musovic, Bright, Ingle (Ji 39), Carter (Charles 74), Leupolz, Reiten (England 74), Kirby (Fleming 74), Eriksson (c) (Nouwen 51), Kerr, Cuthbert
Unused subs Telford, Fox
Booked Harder 65, Leupolz 90

Crowd 1,107

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