Pre-Match Report

UWCL Preview: VfL Wolfsburg v Arsenal Women

UWCL. Wolfsburg v Arsenal Women. April 23, 2023. Volkswagen Arena

It's yet another huge night for our Gunners as we take on VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg of the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final. 

We travel to Germany to face a side who have enjoyed steady success in the competition but with only two games before a historic UWCL final, our squad's belief and resilience will be stronger than ever. 

Regrettably, we'll play this vital match without Kim Little or Leah Williamson after the latter suffered a devastating ACL injury at the weekend against Manchester United. 

Ticket sales for the return fixture at Emirates Stadium have already passed 46,000 - don't miss out on your chance to join!

Our opponents

VfL Wolfsburg celebrate scoring with a team huddle

Consistently impressive is one way to describe Wolfsburg's history in the UEFA Women’s Champions League as they have their sights set on a sixth final in ten years. 

Die Wölfinnen won the competition in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 and have been runners-up three times after that, posing a stern test for our Gunners.  

Tommy Stroot's side have enjoyed a smooth campaign this time around, qualifying as Bundesliga champions and comfortably topping their Champions League group. A narrow aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain followed in the quarter-final to send them through to meet us. 

Outside of the Champions League, it’s neck-and-neck in the Frauen Bundesliga this season, with Bayern Munich - the team we dispatched in the quarter-finals - currently ahead in the table by a single point. 

Over the years, the likes of Caroline Graham Hansen, Pernille Harder and our very own Noelle Maritz have helped lead Wolfsburg to glory, and their current line-up is no less talented.

Former Gunners Jill Roord and Dominique Janssen are joined by UEFA 2022’s Young Player of the Tournament Lena Oberdorf and current Champions League top-scorer Ewa Pajor - to name a few. 

Our history with Wolfsburg

Lotte Wubben-Moy strikes to level the home leg against Wolfsburg last year

We don't have to look too far back for the last time we faced Wolfsburg in the Champions League. Just last year, the two sides met in the quarter-finals.

Lotte Wubben-Moy's iconic strike from a short Tobin Heath free kick in the dying minutes of the match levelled the first leg and sent the Emirates Stadium crowd wild. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a result at the Volkswagen Arena and Wolfsburg won the tie 3-1 on aggregate, only to fall to Barcelona in the semi-finals. 

Our Gunners also played Wolfsburg in a Champions League semi-final almost ten years to the day, with Jen Beattie and Kim Little both involved alongside the likes of Rachel Yankey, Ellen White, Alex Scott, Emma Byrne and Jordan Nobbs. 

Team news

Leah Williamson is assessed by doctors on the pitch

After Leah Williamson was confirmed to have suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester United, she joins Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema on the road to recovery with all the support from our team. Captain Kim Little was recently ruled out for the remainder of the season. 

At the pre-match press conference, Jonas Eidevall confirmed that Caitlin Foord and Lina Hurtig did not travel with the squad to Germany and would, therefore, miss out on Sunday's game. 

On Wolfsburg's side, goalscorer and talisman Alexandra Popp has been officially ruled out of the tie by Tommy Stroot. 

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall in the pre-match press conference

Eidevall on Wolfsburg: "Wolfsburg have a lot of power, a lot of speed. The players have a lot of individual qualities that are very different from each other.

"It gives them variety in the way that they attack. They definitely have one of the best attacks in Europe, so it's a tough challenge for us."

Stroot on us: “We're looking forward to a game between teams on an equal footing. Their coach took over in the same season I did. And we know that a team becomes more stable over time.

“You can see that with Arsenal too. They now have several ways to solve a problem." 

How to watch

We kick off in Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena at 3:30pm local time, 2:30pm UK.

All UWCL fixtures are free to stream on DAZN's Youtube channel wherever you are in the world.

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