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Women's Champions League: A Bundesliga semifinal beckons

James Thorogood
February 10, 2023

Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg have been presented with challenging draws in the Women’s Champions League quarterfinals. If both emerge victorious it would set up the first all-German semifinal since 2015.

Wolfsburg beat Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg are chasing a third Champions League title and first since 2014 in the current campaignImage: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

All roads lead to Eindhoven in the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season and, following Friday's knockout stage draw, the path has been set for Germany to boast representation in the final for the first time since 2020.

Two-time winners Wolfsburg are Germany's best chance at ending a run of seven years without a European trophy. Set to face Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinals, sporting director Ralf Kellermann outlined that they "are looking forward to top-class matches against a European top team with a lot of individual quality and experience in international competition."

Ewa Pajor of VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg striker Ewa Pajor is the top scorer in the Champions League this season with seven goalsImage: Susanne Hübner/IMAGO

"We can expect evenly-matched duels in which small details can make the difference. Our fans can already look forward to a highlight in the decisive second leg in Wolfsburg!"

PSG have a history of knocking out German opposition after dealing Bayern Munich that fate at this stage of the competition last season. This time around, the Bavarians are out to go one better after being pitted against Arsenal in a battle of domestic runners-up. 

"Every possible team in the draw was strong," said Bayern head coach Alexander Straus. "Arsenal is one of the top teams in England and Europe and it will be two very good games. They have a lot of good players. Of course, they are struggling a bit with injuries, but they have strengthened well in the winter to compensate for the absences of Viviane Miedema and Beth Mead."

All-German semifinal?

Should bothBayern and Wolfsburg come out on top in their quarterfinals it would set up the first all-German semifinal since 2015 when Frankfurt lost to Wolfsburg, who would go on to lose the final to record titleholders Lyon on penalties. The draw also means both sides will avoid last season’s finalists, Barcelona and Lyon, until the final in Eindhoven on June 3.

Bayern and Wolfsburg once again have the chance to showcase German women's football on the biggest stage, which is particularly important at a time when issues regarding infrastructure and professionalism are highlighting uneven development at the highest level.

England international Georgia Stanway wasn't willing to look beyond Bayern's quarterfinal opponents though. "It's going to be exciting! I'm really looking forward to playing the Champions League quarterfinals against an English team and meeting some of my friends on the pitch. Arsenal are a top team, we have to be in top form."

Georgia Stanway in the Champions League
England international Georgia Stanway has high hopes for Bayern Munich in the Champions LeagueImage: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

"Right now they are in very good form, scoring lots of goals and are difficult to break down defensively. We really need to be on point when we face them."

For Stanway and Bayern this season offers a chance for them to further establish themselves at the pinnacle of European women's football. To do so they may have to break the trend of coming out second-best against Bundesliga counterparts Wolfsburg, who themselves want to fashion a chance to reclaim a crown that last belonged to them in 2014. 

After a summer of unprecedented popularity in which many of Wolfsburg's and Bayern's players finished runners up at the Euros, as well as a strong start to their respective European campaigns, the chance for success on the biggest stage in club football looms large for both of these teams.

Edited by Jonathan Harding

James Thorogood Sports reporter and editor, host of Project FußballJMThorogood
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