Arsenal Women have been eliminated from the Champions League in a heartbreaking semi-final defeat to two-time champions Wolfsburg. The German side ran out as 3-2 winners on the night, with Pauline Bremer scoring a dramatic late winner in the 119th minute of extra-time. Sweden striker Stina Blackstenius got the Gunners off to the perfect start in front of over 60,000 fans at the Emirates, putting the north London club 1-0 up after 11 minutes to hand them a 3-2 lead on aggregate after a 2-2 draw in the first leg. However, Wolfsburg – a true European powerhouse in women’s football – who won the Champions League in 2013 and 2014 and were runners-up in 2016, 2018 and 2020, showed their experience and scored twice to turn the game on its head. Netherlands midfielder Jill Roord levelled it shortly before half-time and just after the restart, Blackstenius restored Arsenal’s lead before VAR ruled it out for offside. Germany striker Alexandra Popp – a Wolfsburg legend – then gave the away side the lead on 58 minutes with her glancing header beating Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.
With 15 minutes to play, Scotland international defender Jen Beattie stepped up to make it 2-2 to take the game to extra-time, with the equaliser confirmed following a lengthy VAR check. Chances came and went in the extra period but Pauline Bremer broke the Gunners’ hearts in the 119th minute after a huge mistake from England defender Lotte Wubben-Moy, who sloppily gave away possession in a dangerous area. Arsenal players slumped to their knees in what was a brutal loss for Jonas Eidevall’s side as Wolfsburg saw out the final moments to book their place in the final, where they will face Barcelona after the Catalans knocked out Chelsea.
After the match, Arsenal goalscorer Blackstenius said: ‘I feel empty, at the moment. It was a very tough game and it’s tough to concede a goal like that, but I’m so proud of how the team has done in the Champions League. We’ve come back in so many games and gone so close to the final. I’m so proud but it’s so tough to take. It’s amazing to score a goal in front of a record crowd. I felt something in my quad that meant I couldn’t keep going, so I’m disappointed about that. We have a lot more to give. This will give us a lot of confidence: now we know what we really can achieve with this team.’ Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall spoke about his team’s elimination, saying: “I feel very disappointed, empty but I also feel very proud!”