Last year VfL Wolfsburg wrote a new chapter in the club’s history after winning the treble of Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League. “It was an extraordinary achievement,” coach Ralf Kellermann told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview at the start of the year. “We have a chance of success this year too, but I don’t think you’ll see any German team repeat our treble triumph any time soon. You really need everything to go for you to make that happen.”
Wolfsburg will be unable to defend all three crowns after being knocked out of the DFB Cup early on, but two pieces of silverware are still available for the Wolves this season. Recent impressive displays in the domestic championship have put them back in the title race, while they are once again in the Champions League final.
In last year’s continental title-decider Wolfsburg triumphed in their maiden final appearance against defending champions Olympique Lyon, and on 22 May in Lisbon they now face Swedish side Tyreso FF, who themselves will be making their debut.
“Tyreso aren’t in as good a rhythm as we are at the moment, which is an advantage for us,” said Kellermann. “Nevertheless, it’ll be an evenly-balanced match. It will all depend on us repeating out on the pitch what we’ve been doing so well in the last few weeks: being fully focused and putting in a strong performance when it matters most.”
That will be easier said than done as Tyreso, Swedish champions in 2012, boast none other than five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year winner Marta in their ranks. Ten years after first lifting the Champions League trophy following an 8-0 rout of 1. FFC Frankfurt with Umea IK, the Brazilian is more determined than ever to win the title with another Swedish team.
Accordingly, Kellermann is wary of the threat the Damallsvenskan side pose: “Marta and Caroline Seger are very experienced players who will give everything to win the Champions League. Tyreso are a very good attacking side anyway, so we’re on our guard and won’t be underestimating them at all.”
‘Belief’ the key
The coach would be well advised not to, as he also has several personnel worries ahead of the final. “It’s a bit different to last year when the final was the very last game of the season,” he said. “Not everybody will travel with us. Any injured players or people carrying knocks, such as Johanna Tietge and Lina Magull, will stay home to continue their rehabilitation. They’d fall behind in their recovery otherwise. They’ll arrive on Thursday and fly back with the team on Friday and hopefully we can all celebrate together.”
Despite only being able to cheer on her team-mates from the stands, Magull is in no doubt that Wolfsburg can hold on to the title for another year. “There a no guarantees in a final and it all comes down to the form on the day,” the German U-20 international told FIFA.com. “We’ll do another in-depth analysis of our opponent and will keep a close eye on Marta. We need to impose ourselves on the game and believe we can do it. That’s how we managed it last year.” If Magull’s colleagues can heed her advice, Tyreso will have a tough time preventing a Wolfsburg party on Friday.