BarcelonaBarça are in the Champions League final. Barça take another step in history and stand in the key match to lift the trophy of the highest European competition. For all those people who have been part of the path, for all the obstacles overcome, for every double training session suffered and for every contempt received. For everyone who didn’t believe in the project, or the team, or the goal. For all these reasons and many more, Barça has once again applied to become the best team in Europe. Turin is waiting for them, to enjoy them, to host the big football party.
The match, however, was not the ride Barça would have wanted. In the return match at the German stadium came the first defeat of the season (2-0, 3-5 overall). The match was not brilliant for the Catalan team: they were beaten at certain moments of the match, with losses that did a lot of damage and facilitated the goals of the German team.
Wolfsburg have started with the strengths they did not show at the Camp Nou. The German team started engines approaching the Barça goal, but the German revolt did not last long. The Catalans have crossed the midfield, planted themselves in rival ground and stepped on the Wolfsburg area. Thus, once the first moment of madness was over, Barça began to control the ball. With calm, control and pause, the team led by Jonatan Giráldez has faced the ninety minutes to reach the final with the conviction that his game and his style would lead him to the third final of the Champions of his history.
The demand has been maximum, and the script, very different from the one seen in the Catalan temple. Barça have found themselves in a much braver, bolder Wolfsburg, with the hope of turning the tie around. The Catalans have not had a peaceful match and it has taken patience. Some mistakes were made by the midfield and Tommy Stropp’s team headed to the area guarded by Sandra Paños. Crnogorcevic had the clearest chance for the Catalans in the first half. After an acrobatic assist by Aitana Bonmatí, the Swiss managed to get rid of the German defense, but did not get the award. The ball bounced off the crossbar just before the referee whistled the locker room.
The second half was crucial. The advantage on the scoreboard gave the Catalans peace of mind, but the local team knew it was their last chance to be in the long-awaited final in Turin. The players of the German team were aware of the challenge and came out to bite from the first moments of the restart. In just two minutes of play, Wassmuth picked up a dead ball on the balcony of the area and, with a powerful pipe, sent it to the back of Sandra Paños’ goal. Wolfsburg have put in another effort, an extra point that has put Barça under their control. An unflinching Barça hit a wall that failed to break down.
With an out-of-place and inaccurate team, the German team took advantage of the moments of confusion to put the second on the scoreboard. A mistake by the home side’s central defense after 28 minutes allowed Patord Guijarro to score. The Mallorcan’s shot enabled the Dutchwoman, who did not forgive in the 14th of the second half. With the second goal, the foundations of the stadium have shaken and the faces of the Catalans have changed: a hair of despair hovered over the Catalan footballers. Was there really a chance to lose the playoffs?
Barça was reluctant to think it was possible and, with Oshoala and Mariona already on the pitch, the team tried to transform. With more possession and some arrival, the Catalans have sought to recover the good feelings longed for at the Camp Nou. They have tried again and again, but the chances are not over. The Catalan offensive production has been poor and the players led by Jonatan Giráldez have not finished finding the solutions.
The score has not improved for the Catalan aspirations and the first defeat of the season has culminated in the German stadium. Barça, with a goalless draw at zero, have broken a stratospheric record: they have not been without a goal since the European semi-finals two years ago, precisely against the German team. The passage to the final has been bittersweet and a bit counterproductive, but the work done at home has allowed the Catalans to get a flight to Turin. Barça can now buy the tickets: the third final in four years is here.