Foot Feminin : PSG to face Frankfurt in the WCL Final
After PSG went out of the Champions League to Barcelona last week, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was talking up the possibility of the Parisiens pulling off an unprecedented domestic triple. On Sunday night, he was at Charlety to witness the Parisiennes booking a trip to Berlin and the possibility that there will indeed be European silverware in the trophy cabinet this season, as PSG’s women’s team beat VFL Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate.
It was nervier than it needed to be. After an impressive 2-0 away win in the first leg, featuring early goals from Sabrina Delannoy (penalty) and Shirley Cruz Trana and a solid defensive performance, Farid Benstiti started with the same eleven in the second leg in Paris. Another early goal, this time from Aurelie Kaci, got things off to a great start, but PSG could not consolidate their lead.
For Wolfsburg, Alexandra Popp made half a dozen chances in a physical performance that also saw her booked. At the hour mark, Benstiti brought on Fatmire Alushi for Kosovare Asllani, but Ralf Kellermann was rejigging as well, taking off defender Noelle Maritz for veteran striker Martina Muller. Shortly afterwards Caroline Seger was booked for PSG, which caused two problems: first, she will be suspended for the final, and second, Lena Goessling took the freekick, Verena Faisst got a long-range shot off, and Muller diverted it past Katarzyna Kiedrzynek in the PSG goal, who up to this point had been excellent.
While VFL were celebrating the equaliser, Kellermann made another attacking change, taking off defender Babett Peter for attacking midfielder Zsanett Jakabfi, and this substitution told even quicker than the first: this time Muller got the assist for Jakabfi to score just three minutes after coming on. VFL now had only one of their starting back three on the pitch, captain Nilla Fischer, but PSG couldn’t take advantage as the nerves began to tell. They only managed two shots in the last twenty minutes as they desperately held on against the onslaught, knowing that one more goal for Wolfsburg would put the Germans through on away goals.
Kiedrzynek returned to form with some excellent saves, but then the board went up showing five minutes to add. Injury time was a series of fouls as both sides’ efforts hit desperate levels, including Popp clashing with Kiedrzynek, and Alushi giving away a last-minute freekick. However PSG held on, and are in the final of the Women’s Champion’s League for the first time.
It will not be easy – PSG will face Frankfurt, who followed up their 7-0 home win over Brondby with just the 6-0 in the second leg, with hat-tricks for Veronica Boquete and Celia Sasic. While they do look less defensively solid than Wolfsburg, the attack is so frightening that Benstiti will have some tough decisions to make about his selection and tactics, particularly with Seger unavailable.
In an interesting side-note, the final will come just four days after the two German teams play each other in the last match of the Frauen-Bundesliga. Wolfsburg are top on 54 points and Frankfurt third on 52, with Bayern second on 53. They play Essen who are 5th on 28, so you have to fancy Bayern’s chances there, although the previous match between them was a goalless draw. The possibility of a domestic title is out of Frankfurt’s hands, therefore, but there is still a chance. So, Kellermann will also have some tricky decisions to make.
The final will be at 5pm BST on Thursday 14th May in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in Berlin.