Prior to kickoff in Frankfurt, defending UEFA Women’s Champions League champions Barcelona had gone one better than their hosts by emerging victorious in all of their ten competitive matches this season. They’d be keen to extend that run to 11 – but would have to do so without the services of dual Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas in Germany due to illness.
FRA: Johannes; Wolter, Doorsoun-Khajeh, Kleinherne, Hanshaw; Reuteler, Pawollek, Barbara Dunst; Freigang; Anyomi, Prašnikar
BAR: Paños; Bronze, Engen, León, Batlle; Bonmatí, Walsh, Guijarro; Caldentey, Hansen, Paralluelo
Having found the back of the net in nine of their last 10 competitive encounters, Eintracht began encouragingly as Lara Prašnikar and Verena Hanshaw fired wide of the mark. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the pitch, Barcelona’s Norwegian winger Caroline Graham Hansen and strike-partner Mariona Caldentey called goalkeeper Stina Johannes into action.
Moments after Caldentey’s effort, Laura Freigang’s effort from the fringes of the penalty area was well-saved by Sandra Paños. However, there was nothing the Barcelona captain could do to stop Eintracht from taking the lead two minutes before half time, as a goal-hungry Freigang authoritatively headed home Hanshaw’s delicious delivery into the danger zone beyond the grasp of Paños.Embed from Getty Images
On course for back-to-back defeats in the UEFA Women’s Champions League on German soil, following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich last December, it did not take Barcelona long to get back on level terms, as Salma Paralluelo manufactured an equalising goal almost immediately from the restart. With the assistance of Ona Batlle’s pin-point pass into the box at her feet, the Spanish international made no mistake of slotting the ball past Johannes from close range.
The Liga F leaders should have then taken the lead with only three minutes elapsing on the second-half clock, however Aitana Bonmatí – fresh off getting her name onto the scoresheet in her side’s 5-0 demolition of arch-rivals Real Madrid in el Clásico this past weekend – disappointingly could only fire her promising effort from inside the area straight at a bound-to-be-relieved Johannes.
Nonetheless, Jonatan Giráldez’s side would eventually make their second-half dominance count on the brink of the hour mark as Caldentey reacted quickest to fire past the helpless figure of Johannes.Embed from Getty Images
The merciless Paralluelo would ultimately then take the game away from Frankfurt in a quick-fire blink of the eye, as the in-form striker netted her second of the evening with a sublimely struck strike from her position on top of the penalty spot.
Amid Prašnikar forced a smart save from Paños with time running down as part of the closing proceedings on the contest, but Barcelona would remain relatively untroubled by Frankfurt’s lack of an attacking threat as part of a frustrating second 45 minutes in front of goal.
The impressive comeback victory extends Barcelona’s lead at the top of Group A to three points ahead of their return to domestic action in Liga F against Athletic Club on Sunday. Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt remain in second position after succumbing to only their second defeat in their last eleven games.