Wolfsburg turned the tide spectaculary in Lisbon on Thursday night, beating Swedish opponents Tyresö FF in the Champions League final.
“The team played sensationally in the second half, I’m really proud of them,” Wolfsburg coach Ralf Kellermann said after the final whistle on Germany’s Eurosport. “That’s the character of this team. I suppose we found the right words at half-time: This was a Champions League final, after all – and what we offered [before the break] was just not enough.”
Wolfsburg, not broadly considered favorites ahead of a game against a team spearheaded by Brazilian star striker Marta, looked second-best before the break.
Marta opened the scoring on 28 minutes, moments before her provider, Veronica Boquete, added a second with half an hour gone. The roughly 8,000 supporters at the Estadio de Restelo might have been forgiven for expecting a stale second period.
Two apiece for Müller and Marta
Wolfsburg caught Tyresö completely unawares after half-time as Alexandra Popp headed home a solid Anna Blässe delivery from the right flank in just the 47th minute. Seconds later, the Wolves missed a golden opportunity to equalize in a one-on-one, with the disjointed Swedish side clearing another ball off the line in Wolfsburg’s next attack.
On 53 minutes, the Wolves pulled level courtesy of Germany’s women’s footballer of the year Martina Müller – also Wolfsburg’s captain.
Brazilian Marta then issued a reminder of why she was named women’s World Player of the Year in five consecutive seasons, scoring the pick of the night’s seven goals to restore the Swedes’ lead 10 minutes after the break.
Birthday girl Verena Faisst, playing as she turned 25, came off the bench and leveled the scores again in the 68th minute, before captain Müller somehow bundled home her second from close range to hand Wolfsburg their first lead of the night.
Despite some late scares, including a Marta volley in stoppage time well blocked in the penalty area, Wolfsburg held firm to claim their second consecutive Champions League crown. The Wolves beat defending champions Olympique Lyon , also somewhat unexpectedly, in the 2013 final in London. In that game, too, Müller scored the winning goal
German DFB football association President Wolfgang Niersbach and UEFA President Michel Platini were among the guests of honor in the crowd on Thursday night.
“That was an outstanding and sensational performance in the second half,” Niersbach said after the game. “This was a super advertisement for the women’s game in general, and Germany’s in particular.”
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