90+9min: FULL TIME! Chelsea win!
90+8min: We play on. Hayes booked for her touchline outburst.
90+5min: Berger’s taken out in the air by Popp, who’s already been booked. No card coming, much to Emma Hayes’ anger. Both players stay down after the hard collision.
90+3min: Harder almost nicks in as the Wolfsburg goalkeeper dallies on the ball. At the other end, Berger’s down well to save and hold on to a shot from the top of the box.
90+2min: Chelsea defend a couple corners without too much trouble.
90min: 5 minutes added on as Leupolz becomes the first Chelsea player booked for what looked like a borderline foul, let alone a bookable one.
89min: Berger punches a ball clear, but she’s clearly wincing in pain.
87min: Berger down in the area, with some sort of problem with her right leg or groin. She’s not looking too comfortable, but looks like she’s going to try to play on.
84min: Reiten clips it in with her left, and it’s a great ball but no one can get a boot to it, not even Kerr at full stretch on the far post.
83min: Harder wins a foul in the final third and Oberdorf into the book for it for Wolfsburg. Good crossing position in the right channel.
81min: Wolfsburg corner. Eriksson heads clear at the near post.
80min: Reiten on for Kirby.
78min: Wolfsburg go long down their right and win the ball against Andersson. But a through ball is overcooked and Chelsea have a goal kick.
74min: Cuthbert on for Ji as Wolfsburg remain in the ascendancy.
70min: Goal. Wolfsburg. Janssen hammers home a perfect unsaveable penalty. Wolfsburg have their “away” goal. 2-1.
69min: Penalty for Wolfsburg after they get behind on the left and pass across towards the penalty spot. Eriksson’s a step slow to the ball and wipes out Huth. Not much doubt about that one.
68min: Charles blocks a cross for a corner. Berger catches after Wolfsburg play short to change the angle on the cross.
66min: GOALLLLLL!!! HARDERRRRR!!! Wolfsburg go short from the goal kick, but the goalkeeper’s ball is horrendous and Kirby intercepts. She finds Kerr in the center who moves the ball to Harder, who finishes with aplomb. 2-0, CHELSEA!!!!
65min: Kerr and Kirby combine for a ball across, Harder gets a boot to it but the defender makes a key strong block. Chelsea recover the ball and Kirby crosses again, but it’s just over Kerr’s head.
64min: Wolfsburg have a series of corners but Chelsea defend them well, and even counter from the last that Wolfsburg defend well by recovering very quickly.
62min: Berger pulls off a ridiculous save as Rolfo drifts off the back of Charles for a free shot from a nice cross from the right. What a save!
61min: Charles called for a foul just outside the corner of the penalty area for what looked like a perfectly good sliding challenge. Wolfsburg run a little wrinkle and fake the cross for a square ball across the top of the box for a free shot by Popp. But she curls her effort well over the bar.
58min: Kerr pulls out wide and finds Andersson on the underlap. Andersson cuts inside and is free for a shot, but doesn’t want to take it with her right, and then the opportunity’s gone. What a waste.
56min: Chelsea press for a quick second, but Kerr’s over the back of her defender and is rightly whistled for a foul.
55min: GOOOOOALLLL!!!! KERRRRR!!! Ridiculous finish from a ridiculous angle by Kerr, thanks to a great build-up through the center with Ji, Leupolz, and Kirby. A bit against the run of play, but the game’s about taking chances. 1-0, CHELSEA!!!
54min: Wolfsburg counter from midfield, finding Pajor who tries to run at Eriksson. She stays strong and forces a shot, which is sliced well wide.
51min: Charles wins a corner for Chelsea with a nice run. Ingle with the outswinger from the right finds Leupolz, but she’s a fair distance from goal and her header is safely seen wide by the goalkeeper.
49min: Wolfsburg bomb down the right once again and put in a great cross. Free header, but it hits the post again! Another letoff for the Blues.
48min: Harder trying to make something happen, but she hits a pass behind Kirby, then isn’t quite able to beat Huth on the touchline. Chelsea’s front three are then able to combine on the right, but Kerr lets Harder’s pass run beyond her and there’s no one arriving on the far side.
SECOND HALF: No changes for either side. Improvement required from the Blues.
HALF-TIME: Wolfsburg largely the better side thus far and Chelsea probably very lucky not to be behind by two or more...
45min: No time added on.
44min: Leupolz has a been intercepted at midfield and it’s Rolfo again. She tries to release a runner in the right channel but fortunately overcooks the switch and Andersson can recover and clear.
43min: Wolfsburg corner from the right, Berger comes with a big shout but doesn’t make contact. Chelsea defend the ball well on the far side however and win a goal kick.
42min: Eriksson blocks a cross from the right, then Leupolz intercepts a ball across the top of the box. But Chelsea unable to counter.
41min: Rolfo holds Ingle off and is in behind. She plays wide for an arriving Wolfsburg player, but her cross/shot is well wide of the far post.
39min: Bright tries to head back to the goalkeeper, but doesn’t realize that Rolfo had drifted behind the full back. Berger fortunately out quickly to stay big and make the save.
36min: Kirby turns well between the lines and plays a great through ball to Kerr. She’s in and shoots low but the goalkeeper makes a good save with her feet. Kerr was offside anyway.
34min: Chelsea press high on the left and win the ball, but Kirby again passes up a shooting opportunity and tries to find Harder instead. She can only hold up the ball with a defender in close attention, and her layoff is closed down quickly as well.
33min: Kerr running at the defense, central, looks like she’s taken down, but the referee’s unmoved. Wolfsburg turn around and attack down their left. The cross only finds a blue shirt this time.
32min: Eriksson covers well on the left to clear for a throw, but from there, Wolfsburg cross again and the ball finds Rolfo in-between Bright and Charles. Her header isn’t powerful, but it almost creeps in at the far post.
30min: Kirby’s in the area, but she chooses to play back inside instead of taking her shot from a tight angle. No supporting run in the center however. Great run from Bright to start that move.
29min: Wolfsburg corner as Charles plays safely out ahead of Rolfo. Chelsea half clear at the near post, then Harder blocks a shot from the top of the box. Wolfsburg try to create a second opportunity from there, but Chelsea defend well and clear, winning a free kick in the process as well.
27min: Eriksson makes a good interception from another Wolfsburg cross from the right.
25min: Charles steps up and sends Harder down the line. She gets to it first, but Janssen makes a great sliding challenge to not only win the ball but the throw as well.
24min: Chelsea free kick on the right. Ingle drifts it in, but this one’s also too close to the goalkeeper as it hangs in the air. Easy catch.
23min: Free kick for Wolfsburg on their right. In it comes, left-footed, but it bounces straight through to Berger harmlessly.
21min: Wolfsburg this time press and win the ball off Bright with Rolfo. She shoots and Berger makes a strong save, and does so again on the follow-up. Wolfsburg find that rebound as well and shoot, and Andersson clears off the line! Chelsea surviving...
18min: Doorsoun-Khajeh next into the book as she takes out Leupolz in midfield with a sliding tackle.
15min: Chelsea getting shredded down the left side again. In comes the cross, Berger gets caught in no man’s land as the ball flies over the head of a couple before hitting Popp on the hand! The ball’s in the net, but it’s clearly not going to count. Popp gets a yellow, which seems harsh. Chelsea getting a bit lucky again.
14min: Kerr down in the Chelsea penalty area after an aerial battle, looks like it might be a head injury, but she’s up and ready to play on after a brief moment.
13min: Another Wolfsburg cross from the right as Andersson gets played around. Pajor making a great run hits the post and Charles clears from underneath the crossbar! Lucky!
12min: Kirby presses high on a long ball down the left, and forces an errant backpass. Harder is first to it, but the goalkeeper gets lucky with a sweeping leg and prevents what would’ve been an empty-net tap-in. Unlucky!
10min: Harder releases Charles on the underlap with a great reverse ball, but her cross only finds neon green. Chelsea recover the ball and try on the left, finding Kirby in the area, but she’s closed down and squeezed out by a couple before being able to create a shot.
9min: Chelsea win a throw high up the pitch on a second ball from a long clearance, but make no further progress. Chelsea keeping the ball well enough at the moment however.
8min: Huth crosses from the right, Berger plucks it out of the air.
7min: Harder gets a hipcheck from one of her former teammates and Chelsea have a free kick in the right channel, in good crossing position. Ji swings it in, but it drifts too close to the goalkeeper, who collects cleanly.
6min: Bright goes long, but the ball bounces out of the reach of both Kirby and Harder. Chelsea press and Kerr almost blocks the goalkeeper’s clearance, but she can only partially do so.
5min: Eriksson steps up into midfield to win a header and Kirby looks to run at the defense, but the play is called back for a foul. At the other end, Popp loops a header vaguely goalwards from a fair distance and Berger collects with ease.
4min: Charles doing very well at right back to win her 1-v-1 and win a throw.
3min: Wolfsburg play around Andersson and swing in a great cross from the right. Header down is blocked by Bright and half-cleared. A follow-up cross from the left is over the head of everyone, but Wolfsburg’s settling here quickly.
2min: Kerr and Kirby try to combine on the left, but Wolfsburg clear. Eriksson gets a boot up to prevent a counter and Bright mops up.
1min: Kirby wins an early foul in Wolfsburg’s half as Chelsea begin with a bit of possession.
KICK-OFF: It’s blue versus neon green, in Hungary, and it’s live! The players are out, team photos are done, and we’re ready. The players take a knee, which is nice to see, and Chelsea get us underway.
Chelsea have never beaten Wolfsburg, and have lost five of the six times we played them, getting eliminated on all three occasions from the Women’s Champions League.
Time to break that pattern. Chelsea are technically the home team in this one, with next week’s second leg to follow in this same stadium.
Here we go!
Chelsea FCW starting lineup (4-3-3):
Berger | Andersson, Bright, Eriksson (c), Charles | Leupolz, Ingle, Ji | Kerr, Harder, Kirby
Substitutes from: Musovic, Telford, Blundell, Carter, Reiten, Fleming, Cuthbert, Spence, Fox, Beever-Jones
Wolfsburg starting lineup (4-3-3):
Kiedrzynek | Rauch, Janssen, Doorsoun-Khajeh, Hendrich | Oberdorf, Popp (c), Engen | Rolfo, Pajor, Huth
Substitutes from: Wolter, Jakabfi, Blasse, Blomqvist, Dickenmann, Schult, Saevik, Van de Sanden, Wedemeyer, Svava, Gossling, Abt
Date / Time: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 16.00 GMT; 12pm EDT; 9:30pm IST
Venue: Ferenc Szusza Stadium, Budapest, Hungary
Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!