WOLFSBURG'S NIGHT IN SW6 SHOWPIECE

It is to be a German clean sweep in the Champions League this season with, on a notable night in the history of Stamford Bridge, VfL Wolfsburg won the women’s version of the competition.

Olympique Lyonnais were the defeated side, a second-half penalty the only goal in the final, meaning a new name is inscribed on the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy.

There was a true sense of occasion throughout the evening at the Bridge, the West Stand lower tier looking the most different from norm, with a presentation platform built in the middle of it, a large competition banner located behind that and the two most vocal sets of supporters for the teams on either side. Above in the middle tier sat UEFA and FIFA presidents Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter side by side, the former heading downstairs at the end to hand over the silverware.

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The lower tiers around the ground were filled by the 19,278 crowd with the Chelsea Ladies team and staff also in attendance, and there was particular interest in the Lyon side for Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes who coached two of their players when working in the United States – their experienced captain Sonia Bompastor and winger Megan Rapinoe. Hayes herself is a past winner of this final as a player, with Arsenal six years ago.

That was the last time a team not from tonight’s two competing nations had won the competition. Lyon were going for a third straight win which would have made history. Germany had a good record of participation in these finals but this was Wolfsburg’s first. Their coach had described his opponents, the clear financial power in the women’s game in France until Paris St-Germain’s recent takeover, as probably the best women’s team in the world. His opposite number in the Lyon dugout said before the match that Wolfsburg were all about outstanding team work. On the night it was the Germans who came closer to fulfilling their billing.

This being a European final, the Stamford Bridge turf hosted an opening ceremony with a giant purple star and the colours of both sides unfurled before an anthem was played, and it was underdogs Wolfsburg who shot only inches wide inside the first five minutes.

Although Lyon were next to go close, they could not have been happy with their opening to the game. The side that had won every match on the way to their domestic championship adopted an almost shoot-on-sight policy and it was not paying off.

It was only after a clearance off the line from Rapinoe’s header midway through the half that they really started to play. Attempts went close and Alisa Vetterlin in the Wolfsburg goal was tested as a Mexican wave and the rain began.

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However Wolfsburg midfielder Martine Muller nearly made the most of hesitancy in the Lyon defence shortly before half-time. Her moment would come.

In the second-half, the pace of Elodie Thomis on the flank for Lyon threatened to make the difference but in the end the match turned on a 72nd-minute handball, as a flick off an aerial dual dropped onto centre-back Laura Georges’s arm.

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Muller hit the penalty home high. Lyon coach Patrice Lair did not complain about the decision after the game, instead talking about his team not doing what was needed.

Lyon now hurried forward but Wolfsburg went as close to scoring as the French did. Deep into stoppage time, Louisa Necib for Lyon had a shot saved at the second grasp to plenty of quiet celebration and relief in and around the German dug out. They were soon climbing up the aisle in the West Stand to receive their medals from Platini, adding to a domestic double won in the previous fortnight, their first major trophies.

Nearly nine months to the day after the first match of the season at Stamford Bridge, the final competitive game on our turf was over.

‘I love these English stadiums and the atmosphere was fantastic,’ said player of the match Lena Goessling after receiving her individual award.

THOUSANDS TURN OUT FOR OPEN TRAINING STATESIDE

The Chelsea players trained this evening at Busch Stadium, the venue for tomorrow’s game against Manchester City and home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

In stark contrast to yesterday’s session, which took place in front of a handful of students at Saint Louis University, there were more than 10,000 spectators at tonight’s practice.

If the scenes which greeted the players are anything to go by, Rafael Benitez’s side certainly won’t be lacking support when we face our Premier League rivals, as American supporters of all ages came along to catch a glimpse of their heroes in action.

The session itself followed a similar pattern to yesterday’s, with a keep-ball warm-up routine preceding a competitive game on a reduced sized pitch.

Supporters were then treated to a video montage of last season’s Champions League triumph, before the players thanked the fans by embarking on a lap of appreciation and signing autographs.

The evening’s proceedings culminated with five players – Petr Cech, Andreas Christensen, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Demba Ba – competing against each other in the crossbar challenge, with Cahill coming out on top.

There are still tickets available for Saturday’s game against Manchester City at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Both matches are live and FREE TO VIEW on Chelsea TV to viewers in the UK and Ireland.

MATA FEELING AT HOME

Juan Mata says the people of St Louis have been ‘amazing’ since the squad arrived in America on Monday.

The team trained at the Busch Stadium on Wednesday night having been to St Louis University on Tuedsay, and the Spaniard has been impressed from the minute the squad touched down.

‘The reception from the city and from the people was amazing. We’re really happy to be here in the city at this amazing stadium, at the university camp also, and it’s good to promote soccer to people here, to see a lot of people wearing Chelsea shirts,’ Mata said. ‘We’re very happy to be here and will do our best in the game [against Manchester City on Thursday] to win.’

It was a sentiment echoed by Branislav Ivanovic, who discussed the City game: ‘It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s great to promote football.

‘It will be a competitive game played at as high a level as possible because we are professional. We will do our job, we finished the season well and we will try to carry on. We want to do our best in these two games.’

Mata paid tribute to the quality of our opposition, who were unbeaten against the Blues in four meetings during the 2012/13 campaign.

‘Man City has a lot of players with quality, midfielders and offensive players,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to play against them. They keep the ball, have possession and have a lot of goals in their game. It’s difficult to defend them, but we will see tomorrow. We know each other really well.

‘For both teams, the best thing will be the atmosphere of the stadium. It is a huge venue and it is a pleasure for us to play here. We are expecting a great atmosphere and we will do our best for the supporters that are going to be here.

‘It is not the same because if you lose these games you don’t lose three points, but when we represent Chelsea what we want is to win, no matter if it’s a friendly game or not.’

Mata was also quizzed by local journalists on what he knew about the town. One of life’s more studious characters, the 25-year-old was able to respond confidently.

‘To be honest not much,’ he began, ‘but yesterday I learned that in the 1950s or 1960s the United States soccer team had six or seven players from here. In history it’s a city that liked football, and that’s why we are here. I know the Cardinals are famous, but I don’t follow baseball too much!’

Thursday night’s match at the Busch Stadium has sold out, but supporters in New York can still buy tickets for Saturday’s match at Yankee Stadium. Both games are also live on Chelsea TV, with fans in the UK and Ireland able to watch for free.

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: FINAL TOUCHES

The Chelsea TV headlines come from a sunny Saint Louis in America where the Blues are preparing for the first of two friendlies against Manchester City.

Having arrived late on Monday night (local time), the players trained yesterday morning at Saint Louis University, before having some free time later in the day.

An open training session will take place at Busch Stadium, the venue for tomorrow’s game, later this evening, and Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata will address the media in a pre-match press conference.

Don’t miss Blues News at 6.30pm for the thoughts of Frank Lampard and two of the younger members of the travelling party.

Both tomorrow’s game and Saturday’s match in New York will be live and FREE TO VIEW on Chelsea TV and the channel’s online access to viewers in the UK and Ireland.

There are still some tickets remaining for Saturday’s game against Manchester City at Yankee Stadium.

CAHILL: NO STOPPING

With three games left in his season, Gary Cahill is looking forward to his summer holidays after finishing with a flourish.

Cahill rounded off our competitive campaign with the Europa League trophy in Amsterdam last week, and joined the rest of the squad on the flight to America on Monday, with a friendly fixture against Manchester City in St Louis scheduled before he flies home to link up with the England squad for games against Ireland and Brazil.

Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will also be on that flight, while the rest of the Chelsea squad flies to New York for a second clash against our Barclays Premier League rivals.

‘We will train for the next couple of days and will be involved in the game on Thursday and then fly back on Friday,’ Cahill explained.

‘It’s not stopped yet. I finish totally on June 3 I think. I’m looking forward to the internationals because I missed the last ones with injury, but then looking forward to a rest at the end of what’s been a long season.’

It is a season that took in a club record 69 matches, but one the defender believes can be looked back on as a success.

‘I think you have to say we finished strongly,’ said the former Bolton man. ‘We got the third position we were aiming for and achieved what we wanted there, and we finished with a trophy. We had ups and downs but like last year we finished well and we can be pleased.

‘You’ve got to judge it by where you are in the league at certain stages. At three quarters of the way we were looking for third and we managed to achieve that. After we went out of the FA Cup we had one trophy left and it was important to pick up some silverware.’

Cahill also spoke of his sorrow for the victims of the Oklahoma City tornado, which struck neighbouring areas shortly before Chelsea landed in the US.

‘It was unbelievable when we landed with the lightning, wind and rain. It’s devastating news from Oklahoma with the tornado, and we only had a fraction of what they did and it was unbelievable,’ he said. ‘I watched the news so I had a picture of what happened. It’s frightening.’

Tickets are still available to see us take on Manchester City at Yankee Stadium in New York on Saturday. Meanwhile, Chelsea TV also have live coverage of both games, with fans in the UK and Ireland able to watch for free.