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Lyon win fifth Women's Champions League in a row

August 30, 2020

French champions Lyon have made it five Champions League titles in a row after a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg on Sunday. Alexandra Popp gave the German side second half hope but this was their third final loss in five years.

Lyon celebrate in the Champions League final
Image: Getty Images/AFP/C. Brunskill

Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Lyon 
(Popp 57' - Le Sommer 25', Kumagai 44', Gunnarsdottir 88')

A very familiar-looking final ended in a very familiar manner thanks to a very familiar face, as French champions Lyon edged out their German opponents to make it five Women’s Champions League titles in a row. The final blow for the French side was struck by Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir, who played for Wolfsburg earlier in the competition.

That three of those five final wins have come against Wolfsburg is no mark of disrespect to the Women’s Bundesliga winners, Jean Luc Vasseur’s team are simply a class above the rest of the women's game, as they proved for large stretches on Sunday.

After Wendie Renard’s aerial ability and Delphine Cascarino’s jinking wingplay threatened Wolfsburg’s defenses early on, it was Eugenie Le Sommer who eventually broke the deadlock. Cascarino’s cross was only blocked as far as the French striker and, after Wolfsburg keeper Friederike Abt kicked away a weak left-footed effort, Le Sommer blasted across her low with her right.

The German side looked to the prolific Danish forward Pernille Harder for inspiration but she struggled to see enough of the ball as Lyon controlled the game. They took a huge step towards victory just before the break after another half-cleared Cascarino cross fell to Saki Kumagai. The Japanese international kept her cool and rifled a low, powerful shot an inch inside Abt’s left post from 20 yards. It was a goal in keeping with the champions‘ display.

Despite the wounds of previous defeat though, Wolfsburg were not prepared to lie down, and the women in green harried and chased their way back in to the game. Fridolina Rolfö was persistent enough to get a cross in from a tough spot on the left, Lyon keeper Sarah Bouhaddi spilt it and Alexandra Popp was in the right place at the right time to head in from Ewa Pajor’s mishit shot.

Popp and Harder were among those trying desperately to carve out further opportunities. But Lyon managed to wrestle back control. In the end, it was a stroke of luck, and another questionable piece of goalkeeping, that allowed Gunnarsdottir to turn home Le Sommer's fierce shot from close range.

While the identity of the third goalscorer will be frustrating for Wolfsburg, it's yet another final loss to Lyon that will sting more.

As it happened

FULL TIME: That's it! Wolfsburg have put up a valiant fight in the second half but Lyon have won the Champions League for the fifth time in a row!

90+5 - Lyon make another change, Malard replaces  Majri. They're trying to dish out a few minutes to anyone they can. They will be lifting the trophy any minute now.

90+3 - Le Sommer, who opened the scoring, is replaced by Greenwood.

90+2 - Wolfsburg try to load one in to the box but nothing doing.

90' - There will be six minutes of injury time and Lyon have another corner.

88' - GOAL! Gunnarsdottir (Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Lyon)
It's given and the former Wolfsburg player, who played for the Germans earlier in the competition, has surely sealed the win. Abt flapped unconvincingly at a corner which fell to Le Sommer. She pinged a fierce strike at goal, which was going wide until the Icelandic international turned it in.

88' - GOAL CHECK! Gunnarsdottir (Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Lyon)
This will be checked by the VAR for offside.

87' - Double change for Lyon. Van de Sanden and Taylor on for Cascarino and Marozsan. The German had a quiet game and Cascarino has faded after an excellent first half.

85' - Bouhaddi is back up and we're going again. Wolfsburg are huffing and puffing but they haven't quite created that big chance.

82' - Bouhaddi is still on the turf, she may have caught one on the jaw there.

81' - They do get a corner. Bouhaddi claims it, spills it, and is, rightly, awarded a foul.

80' - In to the final ten. It's gone a litle flat of late, Lyon managing the game well. Can the Germans ramp up the pressure now?

78' - Another change for Wolfsburg. Bremer replaces Blässe. A little more firepower needed.

76' - Bronze gallops down the right and slips a clever little ball in to the box towards Gunnarsdotti. But Hendrich is across well to clear. The corner comes to nothing. 

71' - Goessling lifts in a freekick from the left for Wolfsburg and guess who heads it away? Yep, Renard again.

69' - Lyon are just trying to take the sting out of it with possession at the minute, they've been here before.

67' - Popp gets free in acres down the left but can't get it across to Harder. She was a couple of meters offside anyway. Wolfsburg growing in confidence though.

65' - Bronze and Cascarino, who has been quieter since the break, combine down the right and the latter whips in a fierce cross. A vital clearing header from Janssenremoves the danger.

62' - Double change for Wolfsburg now, Pajor and Huth removed for Oberdorf and Wolter. Dice thrown.

60' - Lyon come again and Majri has a pop fro 25 yards. But it's harmless.

57' - GOAL! Popp (Wolfsburg 1 - 2 Lyon ​​​​)​
Those questions have led to a goal! Rolfö did well to get to the left byline and whip in a cross. Pajor got on the end of it after the keeper fumbled and, I think, mishit her shot. But it lasered on to Popp's head and the Germany skipper headed home from close range Game on.

55' - A little glimmer of a chance for the women in green there. Huth's cross almost found its way to Harder and then Engen but it just wouldn't quite drop. There are at least asking a few more questions right now, though.

52' - Huth whips in a corner from the left on to the head of Harder. But the Danish forward can only flick it in the wrong direction. Sums it up a bit.

49' - Wolfsburg had a chance to counter from that corner but couldn't get Harder away in space. They can't afford to be that sloppy in their rare opportunities.

48' - Lyon threaten straight away. Karchaoui flies down the left and picks out Le Sommer on the edge of the box. Her left-footed strike is firm but not quite high enough and Abt tips round the post.

46' - We're off again. No changes for either side at the break.

HALF TIME: Lyon threatened to make it three just before the whistle went, and it wouldn't have flattered them too much. Le Sommer's low left footer and a sweet strike from Kumagai give the French side the lead at the break. It'll take some effort to stop them now.

44' GOAL! Kumagai (Wolfsburg 0 - 2 Lyon) 
Wolfsburg are in big trouble now. More brilliant, and this time persistent, work from Cascarino allows her to whip in a cross from the right. Wolfsburg fail to clear their lines properly and the Japanese midfielder takes her time to lash in a low drive from 20 yards. Unstoppable that, an inch or two inside Abt's post. This already feels like five in a row, Lyon a class above.

40' -  Maroszan is shown a yellow card for a slide tackle on her international teammate Popp. There didn't look a great deal in that really.

39' - Bronze's cross is half-cleared by Blässe but Maroszan can't control her snapshot. Hendrich is on for Doorsoun-Khajeh, meaning Janssen will move to leftback.

38' - The left back is down again, this could be it for her. More problems for Wolfsburg down that left-hand side.

36' - The corner floats serenly in to Abt's arms and it looks like Doorsoun-Khajeh is back on, but she is hobbling a bit. 

34' - Lyon back in the ascendancy now. Le Sommer has a crack  at a cross down the left before Cascarino almost wriggles away from Doorsoun-Khajeh again on the other side, but the defender just gets a foot in this time and it's a corner. But Doorsoun-Khajeh has stayed down here.

32' - Rolfo, who has been quiet so far, skips away down the left, leaving Bronze trailing in her wake. She whips in a firm cross but it's cleared at the front post. A decent response from Wolfsburg after the opener.

28' - Wolfsburg are having a bit of a go in response but Lyon have looked much more assured. That's Le Sommer's 47th Champions League strike and she probably wouldn't have started if they'd been at full strength. A demonstration of the champions' strength in depth. 

25' - GOAL! Le Sommer (Wolfsburg 0 - 1 Lyon) 
Fair to say, it'd been coming. Cascarino, who has been a livewire throughout, bursts through on the overlap down the right. Her cross is half-blocked but it falls to Le Sommer. Her first effort is low and kicked away by Abt, but it falls back to the striker and she strokes it low in to the opposite corner with her left foot. 

22' - Popp helps in a hopeful ball from the left and Renard is there to do her day job and head clear. Then Harder streaks past the rangy defender and her cross falls kindly to Pajor. But she swings and misses at a bouncing ball. Better from the Germans.

18' - Chance!
Quick spot of redemption for Abt. Cascarino, who has looked dangerous throughout, dances in to the area and releases a firm drive from a tight angle. But the Wolfsburg keeper tips it round the post. The corner is just over Renard, much to Wolfsburg's relief. Her aerial threat looks a dangerous weapon.

17' - Nervy moment for Abt as the Wolfsburg keeper spills an overhit Gunnarsdottir through ball. Fortunately for her, a defender is there first.

15' - This time Marozsan can't pick out Renard and the German champions scramble it away.

14' - Better from Wolfsburg, with a silky touch from Harder playing in a teammate down the left. But the cross is easy enough for Bouhaddi to claim. Moments later, Huth is the first player in the book for a late one on Karchaoui. No arguments there, and another freekick coming.

11' - Renard makes her way upfield, this time from a deeper position. She makes contact near the penalty spot and looks to flick on, but can't control the header and it goes behind.

8' - Chance!
Opprtunity for Wolfsburg now. Bouhaddi comes for a throw she has no chance of reaching and the ball bobbles to Harder on the edge of the area. But she fails to get her head over it with the keeper out of position. It fell to the right woman but for once, Harder wasn't up to it.

7' - Chance!
Marozsan stands over a free kick 40 yards out towards the left touchline. The German playmaker only has one target in mind and, inevitably, Renard wins the first header. The center back sends it back acros goal, but no one can get the touch required to put it away. Warning sign for Wolfsburg there.

5' - The champions controlling this one early on, with Wolfsburg scrapping to get any sort of foothold in the game. Bronze almost gets Cascarino in again but it's well cut out.

2' - Strong start from Lyon. Some brilliant work down the right from Cascarino ends with the ball falling to Kumagai 25 yards out. It's a decent hit from the Japanese international but straight at the keeper.

1' - The players took a while to emerge from the tunnel but we're now through the prematch formalities and the French side get us underway in San Sebastian. Here we go!

-- Warmups on the pitch

The players are out on the turf going through their paces, or hopping on the spot in Lyon's case. Not sure what that helps, but it obviously works. A quick reminder that, unlike in the semifinals, there will be VAR for this one.

-- Teams are in

Both sides have announced their lineups. As expected Hegerberg doesn't make it for Lyon, while Parris is suspended. For the Germans, Popp lines up against Lyon for the seventh time while Harder wears the armband despite a report in England today linking her with Chelsea.

-- Here we go again 

Hello, and welcome to DW's coverage of the Women's Champions League final. These are, almost indisputably, the best two teams in the women's game as their frequent appearances in this fixture show.

Lyon beat the German champions at this stage in 2016 and 2018 but will it be any different in San Sebastian? Wolfsburg midfielder Alex Popp thinks so:  "They’re the No 1 team in Europe and we want to put a stop to that,” she said in the buildup to this one."

Kick off is in at 20:00 and we'll bring you the team news when we get it.