With 11 wins in a row, including their first two Champions League group stage matches against Slavia Praha and St. Pölten, Roma women are on a roll. Thanks to this form, the Giallorosse sit atop the Serie A ladder with a four-point lead over second-placed Juventus. Meanwhile, their perfect start in Europe puts the Giallorosse in second place in Group B, level on points with Wolfsburg but trailing in goal differential.
And coincidentally, Roma welcome Wolfsburg to the city’s outskirts today, hosting the reigning German champions at the Stadio Comunale Domenico Francioni in Latina in a critical group stage fixture. With both teams unbeaten, the winner of today’s game will completely control Group B before the start of the second legs in early December.
With seven league titles, nine domestic cup trophies and two Champions League titles to their name, as well as three runners-up, Wolfsburg could very well be the most formidable side Roma have ever faced – a point not wasted. on the Giallorosse.
And no player is more familiar with the Wolfsburg threat than Austrian defender Carina Wenninger, who spent six seasons with Bayern Munich, facing Wolfsburg at every stage.
“It will be a game with great intensity, a big, big fight. High quality football. So it will be good for all the fans…I think for us we have to play our style of football. The Roman style Wanting the ball, keeping the ball, playing possession… Wolfsburg are a great team, I think we have to be focused until the end, to have a good fight against them and bring everything we have.
Roma coach Alessandro Spugna echoed those sentiments in his pre-match press conference:
“Tomorrow we have a great opportunity that we have created for ourselves, with the same points as Wolfsburg. We want to try to play the game to understand where we are. So we will play with carelessness and serenity, lining up our weapons against one of the strongest teams in Europe, but we have to play the way we know how to. It wouldn’t make sense to defend ourselves against them, they would hurt us. We know that we won’t play the qualification against them but against the other two”
“We have a great opportunity tomorrow: to compete courageously, following our principles, knowing that we are up against a strong team, one of the strongest in Europe. If we are here, it is because we deserve it; we must have the courage to put what we will be able to do. If we were to lose, we would be in line with forecasts. If we were to draw, we would be happy. If we were to win, we would have to worry about ourselves. everything, we will understand where we will be in the face of such a battleship.”
Despite Google’s janky translation, the message is clear: it won’t be easy (not by a long shot), but if Roma stay calm and take the game to Wolfsburg, anything is possible.
But what exactly makes Wolfsburg so dangerous?
Glad you asked; let’s take a look at what makes the German giants so great.
With 23 forced goals and only five conceded, Wolfsburg have the most goals scored, the least conceded, the best goal differential and the most points in the Frauen Bundesliga in seven matches. In a nutshell, Wolfsburg have been unstoppable, and much of that success is down to the 25-year-old Polish striker.
After a few years on the periphery, Pajor is back in a big way, scoring a league-leading seven goals in just 445 minutes of action – and not only that, Pajor has provided a club-leading three assists. And those 10 kills make her Germany’s most dangerous player, and with three goals in two Champions League appearances, Pajor has been a scourge on the European stage too.
Given his propensity to score and create, the entire Roma backline (and even the midfield) will be wise to keep tabs on Pajor – their chances of advancing may depend on it.
With just five goals conceded, Wolfsburg were Germany’s stingiest club in seven matches, a record that continued in the Champions League. After beating Slavia Praha and St. Pölten themselves, Wolfsburg’s record in the group stage is unblemished: two wins, zero losses, zero goals conceded.
Led by centre-backs Kathrin Hendrich and Dominque Janssen and full-backs Felicitas Rauch and Lynn Wilms, Die Wölfinnen (Les Louves. Appropriately) have dominated opposition attacks, limiting opponents to one goal or less in all but two matches this season (across all compositions).
All of this puts even more pressure on…
With a slew of options at her disposal, Spugna has mixed and matched her frontline over the past few months, alternately letting Valentina Giacinti lead the line herself while pairing her with Paloma Lázaro and Sophie Roman Haug, who is settling into life well in Italy, scoring four goals in just 320 league minutes. But this trio has never faced a defense as formidable as Wolfsburg’s, putting extra pressure with every touch.
However, there is good news: the return of Andressa Alves. While she was skeptical heading into the game, Roma’s Brazilian playmaker should be ready to play this afternoon, giving the Giallorosse an extra weapon. Placing Andressa behind the Giacinti-Haug duo and ahead of Manuela Giugliano should give Spugna’s attack enough mustard to break through the Wolfsburg backline, and with the speed of Emilie Haavi and Benedetta Glionna on the wings, Roma could have a chance to do the impossible: score against this defence.
Despite the obstacles we’ve talked about, Roma have never backed down from a challenge. Given the quality of the club’s game at the moment and the talent at their disposal, Spugna could orchestrate another European upset today.
Kick-off is at 3 p.m. Don’t miss it!