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Preview: Wolfsburg W vs Arsenal W – prediction, team news, line-ups

Arsenal Women take an ominous-looking trip to the Volkswagen Arena to encounter Wolfsburg Women in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final tie on Sunday.

Seeking their first appearance in the elite final since a 3-1 defeat to Lyon in the 2019/20 season, Wolfsburg made a statement of intent in the group stages, breezing to the top spot in Group B without a single loss (W4, D2).

Tommy Stroot’s side removed all doubts about their continental credentials with a 2-1 aggregate win over a star-studded Paris Saint-Germain team in the quarter-finals. 

Die Wolfinnen now encounter an Arsenal side they ousted in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate, thanks to a 2-0 second-leg win on home turf. 

Jonas Eidevall’s ladies are poised to claim their revenge after finishing top of Group C ahead of record-time tournament winners Lyon with one loss from six matches (W4, D1).

The Gunners are familiar with German opponents as they had to pull off a second-leg comeback to cancel out a 1-0 first-leg deficit en route to dispatching Bayern Munich in this season’s quarter-finals. 

As the only English side ever to win the Women’s Champions League – doing so in 2006/07 – Arsenal will fancy their chances of defying the odds in Wolfsburg. 

Match Preview

After back-to-back winless outings towards the tail-end of March (D1, L1), Wolfsburg have strung together three straight victories by an aggregate scoreline of 16-0. 

It’s even more intimidating that they thumped Bayern, who were on the verge of ousting Arsenal in the previous Champions League knockout round, 5-0 during that sequence. 

However, Stroot’s ladies have lately blown hot and cold at the Volkswagen Arena, alternating between winning and dropping points in their last four home matches (W2, D1, L1). 

Connoisseurs of action-packed football have enjoyed Wolfsburg’s recent home fixtures, as two of the last three have featured at least five goals despite Die Wolfinnen conceding only once in this run.

Fans of omens will point out Wolfsburg got the better of Arsenal in their only previous Champions League semi-final engagement, running out 4-1 aggregate winners in the 2012/13 season.

The aforementioned aggregate defeat to Wolfsburg was the Gunners’ most recent appearance in the semi-finals until this season, highlighting the visiting side’s desire to settle the score. 

Arsenal squeaked past Bayern to secure a long-awaited spot in the semi-finals despite the long-term absences of standout performers Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead.

Since a 1-0 loss at Bayern, Eidevall’s team had gone into overdrive, racking up three wins in a row before falling to a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in last weekend’s Women’s Super League top-table six-pointer.

Leah Williamson, who will represent England at the Women’s World Cup this summer, will lead her side at the Volkswagen Arena, with the Gunners hoping to defy their underwhelming away form.

Except for a 5-1 demolition of cross-town rivals Tottenham Hotspur in late March, they have lost four of their last five competitive games on the road, failing to score three times. 

Team News

After picking up an injury on international duty, Wolfsburg captain Alexandra Popp may have to stay on the sidelines.

Marina Hegering is another doubt, while Stroot cannot call upon Lena Lattwein, who’s out for the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone.

Miedema and Mead are not the only absentees for Arsenal. Captain Kim Little is ruled out for the rest of the season, though Caitlin Foord could return after missing out on last weekend’s trip to Man United.

Wolfsburg potential line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Merle Frohms; Lynn Wilms, Kathrin Hendrich, Dominique Janssen, Felicitas Rauch; Lena Oberdorf, Svenja Huth; Jule Brand, Jill Roord, Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir; Ewa Pajor. 

Arsenal potential line-up:

(4-3-3): Manuela Zinsberger; Noelle Maritz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, Katie McCabe; Leah Williamson, Lia Walti, Frida Maanum; Victoria Pelova, Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord.

We Say: Wolfsburg 1-1 Arsenal 

Despite Wolfsburg’s outrageous form in the build-up to this fixture, we believe Arsenal can leave Germany undefeated. 

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