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Unfinished business for Barcelona's Fridolina Rolfö

April 20, 2022

Barcelona and Wolfsburg face off in Friday’s mouthwatering Champions League semifinal first leg. Fridolina Rolfö swapped Germany for Catalonia last year in pursuit of the one domestic trophy that has so far evaded her.

Fridolina Rolfö
Fridolina Rolfö is living her dream to play for BarcelonaImage: Bagu Blanco/PRESSINPHOTO/Imago IMages

Barcelona vs. Wolfsburg

Friday April 22, 18:45 CEST
Camp Nou

Fridolina Rolfö knows her next opponents better than most.

The Swede spent two of her four years in Germany at Wolfsburg, winning back-to-back Frauen-Bundesliga titles and a German Cup before securing her dream move to Barcelona.

Rolfö's winning habit hasn't ended in Catalonia. Last month she secured a domestic double in her first season — but there's one prize that still evades her.

Fridolina Rolfö celebrates her winning goal for Wolfsburg as Barcelona players look sad
Rolfö (second from left), scored Wolfburgs only goal of the 2020 semifinal to knock out Barcelona.Image: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

Crossing the divide

The closest she came to winning the Champions League was in 2020, when Wolfsburg's run was ended by seven-time record winners Olympic Lyon in the final.

The semifinal had been a pandemic-enforced one-leg affair against Barcelona. On that occasion, Rolfö was wearing green — and it was her goal that sent Wolfsburg through at Barcelona's expense. Fast forward two years, and she's now playing for the reigning European champions.

"It's crazy when I think back: Then I was playing with Wolfsburg, and now I'm playing against them. It was something different that year because of the coronavirus — so there was only one game in the semifinal, not two," Rolfö recalled in a recent episode of DAZN's "The Match Up" podcast.

"We had a big chance to win that game, and we did it, so I was so happy after scoring that goal and I knew that we could reach one of our goals: to win the Champions League. Unfortunately, we didn't achieve our goal, but at least we played in a final and I want to get back there again," the 28-year-old added.

Wolfsburg's Ingrid Engen and Fridolina Rolfö hold the German Cup after beating Eintracht Frankfurt in the final in 2021. Both now play for Barcelona Femeni.
Ingrid Engen and Fridolina Rolfö celebrate their German Cup triumph in 2021 – before leaving Wolfsburg for Barca.Image: BEAUTIFULxSPORTS/Wunderlx/imago images

New experience, new philosophy

Rolfö, who also spent two seasons at Bayern Munich from 2017, is one of three Barcelona players who previously plied their trade at Wolfsburg. Norwegian pair Ingrid Engen and Caroline Graham Hansen both had spells in Lower Saxony before being snapped up by Barcelona. Engen and Rolfö have become good friends as their careers have followed similar paths — both having left Wolfsburg with a piece of silverware in 2021.

"Ingrid Engen and I played together at Wolfsburg, too, so we have known each other for several years — and before we left, we won the German Cup. It was really fun and great to end my time in Wolfsburg with a trophy.

"It was an amazing day when I joined Barcelona. It was something I'd dreamed about. ... I wanted to start a new journey and a new experience with a new philosophy. I really thought I should get that here in Barcelona and I still feel the same."

Fridolina Rolfö runs in the foreground during the UEFA Women's Champions League football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which attracted a record 91,553 fans.
At least 50,000 fans are expected at the Camp Nou on Friday.Image: Vegard Grott/Bildbyran/Imago Images

50,000 fans expected

At least 50,000 tickets have been sold for Friday's semifinal as the Camp Nou is expected to welcome another huge crowd for a Barcelona game in the Champions League.

Barca's 5-2 quarterfinal victory over Real Madrid last month set a new record for a women's club game, with 91,553 fans in attendance. And, while Friday's game doesn't appear likely to hit those heights, it could still be the third-highest attendance ever for a club game.

Though tickets may be free to club members, such huge numbers of fans in the stadium still point to growing mainstream interest in the women's game, with Rolfö excited that more eyes than ever before are on these big matches.

"When I was younger, none of the young boys were looking up to any female football players. But today you can see small boys and girls playing in Alex Putellas shirts. You can see that this is moving fast and a lot is happening," she said.

"Role models are so important; when I grew up the female role models I had were so important," she said. "They made it possible for me to believe I could be a female football player and a professional athlete."

Edited by Chuck Penfold.

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