VfL Wolfsburg won their sixth DFB-Pokal title in a row, and their seventh overall. The German champions came out on top in a dramatic game against SGS Essen in Cologne. A 3-3 draw after extra time saw the match head to penalties, where Wolfsburg would triumph.
“It was an amazing game to watch, but we would have liked to have wrapped it up a bit differently. Winning a title is never a given, especially after such an unusual and long season,” said Wolfsburg head coach Stephan Lerch. Despite the defeat, Essen head coach Markus Högner was able to praise his side’s performance. “First and foremost, I’m very proud of the team,” he said. “We played well for the full 120 minutes. You always need to have a bit of luck in a penalty shootout. We came very close to winning the game.”
The match at the RheinEnergieStadion began with a bang, as Germany international Lea Schüller scored the opener for Essen after just 11 seconds. A long ball found Schüller, who beat the Wolfsburg defence and skilfully lobbed it over Wolfsburg goalkeeper, Friederike Abt.
The Wolves quickly recovered from the early setback. Anna Blässe stormed down the right wing and played in Pernille Harder. Her shot sailed past Stina Johannes and into the back of the net (11’). Essen continued to press, however, despite having lined up in a more defensive formation. Nicole Anyomi narrowly missed in the 17th minute, before Marina Hegering headed home off the corner that followed (18’).
Wolfsburg reacted immediately with a fast and furious attack as Ewa Pajor’s header hit the crossbar (29’). VfL were unable to equalise off three subsequent corners (20’), but continued to threaten. Fridolina Rolfö then set a shot just wide of the far post in the 36th minute.
Essen were on the back foot at the start of the second half, but defended well to keep the Wolves at bay. The 59th minute saw Jana Feldkamp record a golden opportunity to extend her side’s lead, but her shot hit the post. Feldkamp, a former Germany youth international, then had another chance to score but her shot from range went wide.
Meanwhile, defending champions Wolfsburg failed to record any real threat in front of goal. Harder attempted a one-timer in the 64th minute, but then it was Blässe’s (27 caps for Germany) time to shine. Her shot from 25 metres out sailed top corner to bring the Wolves level (70’).
Essen once again refused to back down and nearly took the lead through Schüller yet again, but her shot went wide of the far post (79’). Wolfsburg continued to dictate the game, but were unable to break through the Essen defence. Blässe could have given the Wolves the lead in the 85th minute, but Johannes came up with a big save to keep things level. However, she was unable to prevent Dominique Bloodworth-Janssen from heading home off the subsequent corner (86’).
The game took a dramatic turn in added time, as Irini Ioannidou came off the bench and scored off a free kick to hand Essen a late equaliser (90’ +1) as the game went into extra time.
Wolfsburg’s Harder recorded the first shot in extra time (92’), as Essen showed signs of lagging after an intense 90 minutes. The Wolves controlled the majority of play, but SGS were able to keep them at bay. Claudia Neto attempted a shot from outside the box, with Blässe getting on the rebound, but her shot hit the post (113’).
With the game still level after extra time, the match headed to penalties. Two successful penalties for both Essen and Wolfsburg were followed by misses from VfL’s Alexandra Popp and Essen’s Ioannidou. Nina Brüggemann then also missed for SGS, as Harder stepped up to the spot and converted to win the title for Wolfsburg.