The high of defeating Arsenal in dominant fashion to secure the domestic quadruple for the 2020-21 season certainly came at a cost. Players had to immediately switch out of Cup Final mode and into midseason grind mode, with two additional tough games to play that same week. What happened was a frustrating draw in the Champions League versus Juventus and a loss in the WSL to Reading.
It wasn’t for lack of effort: the team generated 57 total shots in the two games combined, but only nine were on target, and zero became goals. As much as that’s unlikely to ever happen again, it did happen, and it’s had consequences.
In the Champions League it means that there’s now a not-unrealistic chance that Chelsea, Wolfsburg and Juventus could all finish on 11 points in the group. Getting a result away at Wolfsburg assures top spot heading into the knockout rounds, but (assuming Juventus get all three points at home versus Servette) a loss would make things very interesting indeed, and bring tiebreakers into play. Let’s avoid all that, shall we!?
Date/Time: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 20.00 GMT; 3:00pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: AOK Stadion, Wolfsburg, Germany
Forecast: Cloudy; 46°F/8°C
Streaming: DAZN (globally; bookmark this page as all UWCL matches will be shown live on DAZN’s YouTube page)
Chelsea team news: Though we had to play three matches in seven days, we had done so without any major injury issues (outside of fatigue). However, starting goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and midfielder Drew Spence have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this match.
The former is potentially a big worry, as it was Berger’s heroics last season that allowed Chelsea to exorcise our Wolfsburg demons. Luckily, Zećira Mušović is a very talented young goalkeeper and Emma Hayes has been proactive at getting her experience, though this will surely be the biggest match she’s played for the Blues.
Spence and Berger are both fully vaccinated and we hope they recover fully with no or minimal symptoms. Maren Mjelde and Lauren James will also not be in the matchday squad as they continue to build strength and fitness after lengthy rehabs.
Wolfsburg team news: The injury news is a bit more positive for Wolfsburg, and have been boosted by the ahead-of-schedule recoveries of Svenja Huth and Shanice va de Sanden, both of whom should be in the squad versus Chelsea. Though Alexandra Popp has began running and doing light drills, she isn’t expected to feature for the German side this season.
In mid-November, Wolfsburg beat Bayern to leap to the top of the Frauen Bundesliga, but a recent draw against Leverkusen has narrowed the gap to one point. Aside from Jill Roord and Ewa Pajor, another player Chelsea will need to contain is Tabea Waßmuth, who’s been in exceptional goal-creating form while also frequently forcing mistakes through her pressing.
Previously: A supremely annoying 3-3 in which Pernille Harder scored the equalizer in stoppage time after Chelsea errors gifted Wolfsburg ALL THREE OF THEIR GOALS.