[dropcap size=small]O[/dropcap]n May 22nd, the final of this year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League will be played in Estadio do Rostelo in Lisbon. It could be the second straight title for the German contender VfL Wolfsburg. Or, a Swedish team will finally win the trophy again; no Damallsvenskan club has captured the title since Umea IK in 2004.
VfL Wolfsburg is the favorite to win the title. Not only as defending champion but also because Bundesliga sides have collected six of last possible nine titles after Umea’s last win. However, Wolfsburg is under pressure. In the Bundesliga, the team sits in third place at the moment. This can still change, but if it doesn’t, the third place finish means the team won’t qualify for the next Champions League campaign unless as defending champion. Internally, the Volkswagen-sponsored club already faced criticism by club CEO Thomas Röttgen: “Titles are not the criteria. But considering the quality of our roster I would be surprised if we didn’t win one […] Our goal has always been to see a continuous improvement of the team — this is not recognizable in this season.”
For veteran Conny Pohlers, it could be a special game; she leads the all-time strike list in Champions League with 42 goals and just announced her retirement after this season.
For opponent Tyresö FF, the star-packed team was living way over its financial reality and has filed for bankruptcy. It faces the Swedish tax payers right now, who have to cover the salaries of Marta & Co. A local court will decide on June 5 — two weeks after the Champions League final — whether the club has a future. Until then, the officials need to prove they’re able to finance the club for the future. Allegedly, the country of Equatorial Guinea will sponsor the team and found a youth academy in Sweden. Many of the star players will leave the team independent of the Champions League result after the final.
Road to the Final
Round of 32: Wolfsburg v Pärnu (Estonia) 14-0 /13-0
Round of 16: Wolfsburg v Rosengard (Sweden) 3-1/2-1
Quaterfinals: Wolfsburg v Barcelona 3-0 / 2-0
Semifinals: Wolfsburg v Potsdam 4-2 / 0-0
Round of 32: Tyresö v Paris 2-1 / 0-0
Round of 16: Tyresö v Hjorring (Denmark) 4-0 / 2-1
Quarterfinals: Tyresö v Neulengbach (Austria) 8-1 / 0-0