Wolfsburg beat Arsenal in Women's Champions League extra-time thriller to reach final

Pauline Bremer scored a dramatic late goal in extra time as Wolfsburg beat Arsenal 3-2 on Monday night in front of a record Emirates Stadium crowd to advance to the Women's Champions League final 5-4 on aggregate.

Stina Blackstenius opened the scoring early on for Arsenal in the semifinal second leg, but Wolfsburg goals from Jill Roord and Alexandra Popp either side of half-time put the German side back in front. Jenny Beattie struck for the Gunners in the 75th minute to send the game to extra time before Bremer rolled home to seal the win for Wolfsburg.

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The result sets up a match against beaten 2022 finalists Barcelona, who advanced past Chelsea in the other semifinal, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, on June 3 to crown a new champion of UEFA's top women's club competition.

"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," Blackstenius told DAZN after the match.

"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."

Backed by a sell-out crowd of 60,063, Arsenal began to pressurise the away defence and soon had their breakthrough as Lia Walti threaded the ball through for Blackstenius. Outmuscling defender Kathy Hendrich, the Sweden attacker took the ball around Wolfsburg No. 1 Merle Frohms before guiding it into the open net.

Despite dominating much of the first half as they did in the opening leg, the hosts conceded late against the run of play. Where it had been Rafaelle rising well in Wolfsburg to bring Arsenal back into the tie last week, it was Roord who was on hand to fire the ball into Manuela Zinsberger's goal at the Emirates.

"I'm overwhelmed, it was a tough game with extra time. I thought it was going to go to penalties but we won," Nehterlands midfielder Roord said. "Credit to Arsenal, they've been through a lot as a team but they made it super hard.

"At the end they could have won, we could have won. We were the lucky ones. I'm looking forward to playing in the final in my own country."

Arsenal thought they finally had the advantage in the tie soon after the break when Blackstenius lashed the ball home from Noelle Maritz's square pass only for VAR to intervene and rule the goal out for offside.

Wolfsburg finally started to find their footing again less than 10 minutes into the second half. Pressing Arsenal well in their own defensive third and drawing a flurry of last-ditch blocks and clearances, a succession of corners proved to be their way back in as, again, the hosts succumbed at a set piece.

Popp teed up Roord for Wolfsburg's first, but she took full responsibility for their second, nodding Felicitas Rauch's deft corner delivery in at the near post.

Down but not out, Arsenal once again pulled level, and again it was a set piece that lead to the goal with Lotte Wubben-Moy's recycled ball headed home by Beattie. But the mood fast turned sour for Arsenal after Laura Wienroither had to be stretchered off just 14 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

With the score locked at the same result from the first leg -- 2-2 -- the full-time whistle sounded and the game went to extra time.

Arsenal missed a pair of chances early in extra time and thought they'd taken the lead 10 minutes in only for the play to be called back for a foul in the build-up, adding to the nervous tension around the stadium.

Arsenal again came agonisingly close with five minutes left in extra time when Katie McCabe's hopeful ball back into the area travelled through to kiss the bar and bounce clear.

Their wasted chances finally told moments later when Jule Brand nicked the ball from the Arsenal defence, broke into the box and flashed it across the face of Zinsberger's goal for Bremer to tap into an open net with just two minutes of extra time left.

Arsenal couldn't respond to force the shootout and bow out at the last hurdle -- extending their 16-year wait to return to a Champions League final -- with Wolfsburg reaching their sixth edition of the showpiece event.

"It's tough, no doubt about it," Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said after the match. "It was a game of such fine margins that were not on our side. We are allowed to hurt and feel empty, but we're also allowed to feel proud of the performance and the occasion with our supporters.

"There is a lot of emotions in the brain."

Wolfsburg were back-to-back UWCL winners between 2012 and 2014, while Barcelona won their first title in 2021, before losing to 2022 winner Lyon last year.