Chelsea Ladies go into their UEFA Champion’s League second leg against Wolfsburg with a huge mountain to climb after losing the first leg 3-1, with the Germans getting three massive away goals. Although Emma Hayes and her side will be disheartened, they will know that they have the firepower to turn this tie around.
A huge advantage for the Blues is the fact they have had a full week to prepare for this game. Before the first leg, they had a gruelling midweek fixture which affected their fitness levels going into that loss and that counted against Chelsea in the latter stages of the first leg. For the second leg however, the players should be raring to go.
Wolfsburg go into the game knowing they have beaten Chelsea regularly in recent years having knocked them out of earlier stages in the last two Champions League seasons. Furthermore, their second half display last weekend was dominant away from home and they only need to produce another 90 minute display like that at home to reach the final. The Germans sit at the top of the Frauen Bundesliga, only dropping two points all season. However, they are still only three points ahead of their title rivals Bayern Munich.
Ramona Bachmann will return to the squad this weekend from suspension to face her former club. Her absence was a huge blow for the Blues as they couldn’t find a way to unlock the German’s defence, something Bachmann excels at. The squad will be on a high after receiving plaudits and awards over the week. Last weekend after the first leg, five Chelsea Ladies players were named in the PFA Team of the Year; while Fran Kirby won the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award with Ji So-Yun finishing as the runner up and Maren Mjelde made it an all Chelsea best three. During the week, Kirby was also honoured with the first ever Women’s Football Writer’s Player of the Year award for her stunning campaign for which she’s scored 22 goals and been a class act all season.
If Chelsea can settle into the game early on and control the tempo in what will be a hostile environment, they will know they can breach that Wolfsburg defence. A score line by which Chelsea win by three goals is not inconceivable and Emma Hayes and her squad will believe they can do it.
Wolfsburg Player to Watch: Pernille Harder
Chelsea Player to Watch: Ramona Bachmann