VfL Wolfsburg Misses Champions League Group Stage – Alexandra Popp and Team Fall to Paris FC

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VfL Wolfsburg’s bid to secure a spot in the Champions League group stage fell short. The team, led by captain Alexandra Popp and last year’s finalist, suffered a surprising 0-2 (0-1) defeat at home to Paris FC on Wednesday evening. Julie Dufour scored the opening goal for the visiting French team in the 38th minute, while Dominique Janssen missed the opportunity to level the score from the penalty spot in the 61st minute. Louise Fleury sealed the upset with a goal in the 90th minute.

Alexandra Popp threw her hands up in horror, then the weary captain sank to the ground in disappointment: 137 days after their painful defeat in the final against FC Barcelona, VfL Wolfsburg’s women’s soccer team suffered another bitter evening in the Champions League.

The German Cup winners lost the second leg of the final qualifying round against Paris FC 0:2 (0:1) on Wednesday and thus missed the group stage.

“There is a huge disappointment there,” said Ralf Kellermann, director of women’s soccer at VfL, “because you look forward to these duels and the group stage and want to compete with the best in Europe. It hurts extremely now for the time being.” Since 2012, the two-time winners (2013 and 2014) had always been at least in the quarterfinals.

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Already with the 3:3 in the first leg the previous week, coach Tommy Stroot’s team had put itself in dire straits. The Wölfinnen then could not withstand the great pressure. “We don’t need excuses, we just didn’t bring it on the pitch in both games like we are capable of,” Kellermann said.

In a disappointing first half, Julie Dufour (38th) shocked Wolfsburg before the break. VfL remained hapless in front of 3747 spectators – including interim national coach Horst Hrubesch – and Dominique Janssen (61st) missed the best chance to equalize with a penalty kick. Then, in the 90th minute, Louise Fleury made sure of the decision with a counterattack.

VfL Wolfsburg Misses Champions League Group Stage – Alexandra Popp and Team Fall to Paris FC

Only goalkeeper Lisa Schmitz, who again replaced the stricken regular keeper Merle Frohms, was to thank for the fact that the hosts did not fall behind earlier. The 31-year-old saved several great chances and a hand penalty by Gaetane Thiney (12.). Prior to that, captain Popp’s left arm had been hit by the ball during a tackle.

The Wolves rarely provided any relief until the half-time whistle. Nevertheless, Ewa Pajor (22nd) almost turned the game on its head, but her header hit the post. After the break, VfL put on a lot of pressure, but Popp and Co. were too imprecise in front of goal.

Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, did better, winning their second match against Sparta Prague with ease and advancing to the group stage of the top flight for the first time in their club’s history.

Frankfurt did not show any weakness in the 3:0 (3:0) away win in Prague, Eintracht had already shone in the first leg (5:0). The player of the evening was the Austrian Barbara Dunst, who scored a hat trick before the break (18./33./43.).

SGE, like Bayern Munich, secures their place in the top-tier competition, having earned qualification as champions. The draw for the group stage is scheduled for October 20 in Nyon, and the group stage matches will commence in mid-November.

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