International breaks are lame and boring — the worst, really — but fortunately Chelsea FCW are here to save us, as we begin our Women’s Champions League campaign. As you may recall, the Blues got farther than ever last season, all the way to the final in fact, where we unfortunately ran into a bit of a buzzsaw in the form of an all-conquering Barcelona side.
To beat Barcelona isn’t going to be easy, to say the least, but we can worry about that later. For now, the attention is on the group stages, which the women’s competition includes for the first time ever. And it’s perhaps quite fitting that our first ever group stage match is against our greatest European nemesis, Wolfsburg, who once eliminated us three years in a row (2016-18). While we exorcised those demons last season by winning both legs of our quarterfinal matchup, they have been by far our most frequent opponents in this competition — 8 of our 31 games all told.
Juventus and Servette are the other two teams in our group, which may prove trickier matchups than expected, but we can get things started on the right foot by beating Wolfsburg today.
Date / Time: Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston, England
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara
Forecast: Sunny day but cool night
Chelsea team news: Chelsea have responded to a surprise opening day 3-2 defeat at Arsenal with four straight victories by a combined 17-2 scoreline (including a 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United at their place). Sam Kerr has scored in all four of those games (six goals total), while Fran Kirby has three goals and both Pernille Harder and Bethany England are on two each. Nice to see our potent attack living up to their potential.
And they will need to keep doing so if we are to hit our targets this season — including a return trip to the European final.
“From my perspective, I think we’ve gained another year’s experience.
“[We] have got many competitions to play for. Our preoccupation is on our daily practice and competing for every trophy. We always want to win all of them, including the Champions League and I believe we are one year better because of that experience last year.”
-Emma Hayes; source: Chelsea FC
Wolfsburg team news: These days, Wolfsburg are only the second best team in Germany after Bayern Munich, but they are rebuilding and looking to get back their domestic crown. They are currently second, two points off the pace, which is exactly how they finished last season.
Ewa Pajor again leads the way up front, while new signings Tabea Waßmuth from Hoffenheim and Jill Roord from Arsenal add a bit more danger to their attack.
Wolfsburg have not lost a game since the last time they faced Chelsea, back in March of this year — that’s 14 unbeaten (12 wins, 2 draws) in all competitions.
Previously: Here is that game, a 3-0 win for the Blues in Wolfsburg, with each of the big three scoring once.