VfL Wolfsburg continued their impressive record and lifted the Women’s DFB-Pokal for the fifth time in a row. The league leaders overcame first-time finalists SC Freiburg 1-0 at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion. President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and women’s national team coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg were among the crowd of 17,048. Ewa Pajor scored the winning goal in the 55th minute, after Freiburg weren’t able to make the most of their first-half chances.
“For me, it was the kind of final that was expected, as Freiburg tried to slow down Wolfsburg’s high tempo. In the second half it was a question of power and Wolfsburg deserved the victory,” said Maria Voss-Tecklenberg. Wolfsburg’s international striker Almuth Schult was overjoyed at the end of the game. “The fifth cup victory in a row feels so good. In the first half Freiburg put a lot of pressure on, but then we played brilliantly in the second.” Freiburg captain Clara Schöne regretted the missed chances. “I’m very proud of the team. We had an amazing first half. If we had taken the lead then, the game could have been completely different.”
The Wolves took control in the opening minutes and put Freiburg’s defence under deep pressure, but Stefan Lerch’s side were unable to create any clear chances. On the other hand, Freiburg had a number of chances on goal from the tenth minute onwards but couldn’t make any of them count.
Anja Maike Hegenauer had the first real chance of the game in the 9th minute after Wolfsburg lost the ball, but saw her effort go just wide of the left-hand post. Just minutes later, Klara Bühl beat three Wolfsburg defenders but shot into the onrushing Wolsburg goalkeeper Almuth Schult (13’). Freiburg continued to have good chances to score against a Wolfsburg side that had slightly more possession and were surprised by the free-flowing game plan of the outsiders.
Sharon Beck narrowly missed from around 20 metres out in the 26th minute, before Sandra Starke was denied by Schult and Nilla Fischer in a last-ditch effort (29’). Lena Nuding was first called into action in the 35th minute as she saved Alexandra Popp’s shot from 30 metres. From the resulting corner, three Freiburg players attacked on the counter but were unable to take advantage of a brilliant chance (36’).
Wolfsburg increased the pressure before the break. Nuding dealt with a dangerous cross from Zsannett Jakabfi in the 39th minute, before saving an impressive bicycle kick from Pajor three minutes later. Jakabfi was then unsuccessful with a long-range effort, meaning the first half ended scoreless.
Wolfsburg attacked again at the start of the second half and also showed no signs of vulnerability upon losing possession. In the 53rd minute, the defending champions became even more dangerous in front of goal. Caroline Hansen’s cross provided a scare to the Freiburg defence, but the opener came two minutes later. Harder cut inside from the left and saw her effort from the edge of the area strike the post, only to rebound perfectly to Pajor who finished into the open goal.
Freiburg were lucky not to be two goals down just minutes later, as Harder found herself free but shot over the bar. The favourites’ pressure continued to grow gradually, as Freiburg found themselves cramped in their own half for long periods of the game. Goalkeeper Nuding saved the side twice from a shot and header from the Danish Harder (64’, 68’). The goalkeeper was on hand again to deny goal scorer Pajor twice, first in the 75th minute, then again eleven minutes later.
The underdogs tried everything to level the game but were unable to put Schult’s goal in any danger and the Wolves went on to retain their title, which was not only their fifth cup title in succession, but also the sixth in the history of the club.###more###