They had been playing for an hour and the rain had at last stopped hammering on the roof of this vast, empty arena, the sun starting to come out at last, when Lauren Wade bent a beautiful curling shot over Frederieke Abt an into the net. There was a shout from somewhere in the stand and, the White Stripes playing for her this time, Wade clenched her fist and broke into a broad smile. Teammates in orange run over and embraced her, some sense of vindication perhaps, however short-lived.
No, Glasgow didn’t lead and, no, they weren’t going through, but no one had expected them to do either of those things – and at least they had left some mark. Ultimately, though, Wolfsburg left a far greater mark on them and may leave a lasting mark on this competition. So impressive here, the German champions took their opponents apart, piece by piece from start to finish and are candidates for sure, a side with so much quality and confidence, quick and clever players seemingly in every position. Svenja Huth and Pernille Harder, in particular.
Glasgow had already let in five by the time they scored and they would let in a further four, the gulf between these two clubs gigantic. But then, they knew that: the odds on a Wolfsburg victory were 66-1 on and Glasgow’s founder had said it makes her “giggle” to see the teams they were up against. Here was a moment to smile, at least, something to take home from an evening that was mostly chastening, reality allowing little room for romance.
The only part-time team in the competition were destroyed. With seven minutes to go, Glasgow took off their goalkeeper Lee Alexander. She had saved three penalties to bring them here. Now, though, she had let in eight. Erin Clacher replaced her and almost immediately saw Harder smash a shot against her bar. Then she too let one in in the last minute, a cruel own goal looping over her head off Leanne Ross .
That was one of two own goals. There were also four goals from the superb Harder, two from Ingrid Engen and one from Felicitas Rauch. The doubt had always been not so much if Wolfsburg would score as when, and how often. The answer to the first question was fifteen minutes – although it did come after a neat slotted pass from Krystyna Freda might have given Glasgow an opportunity to open the scoring. The answer to the second was nine.
Harder got the first of them, which was not much a surprise either, a shot from the edge of the area giving her a thirty-fifth goal this season and she wasn’t about to stop there. Seven Nation Army blared out, as it always does, and Wolfsburg had begun. Three minutes later it was two, Engen heading in a corner well inside the six yard box. There were a lot of Glasgow players there, but none had taken hold of the Norwegian.
There were a lot of Glasgow players in their own area a lot of the time, in fact. The Germans turned the screw, offering no way out. The ball was theirs and theirs alone, used smartly, comfort in everything they did, even if the pace the goals went in didn’t really quicken. A gorgeous nutmeg from Ewa Pajor soon after somehow didn’t get the finish it deserved, Zaneta Wyne seeing her escape only for the finish to evade the far post. This was becoming a recurring theme for the full-back, unfortunate that so much of what Wolfsburg did was building on her side.
It wasn’t until the 37th minute that Glasgow produced their first shot and that, a long looping effort from Wade going well wide. By then, their opponents had taken thirteen of them .They hadn’t yet added a third goal, though. When they did, on 44 minutes, it again came from the right. Another slick move picked its way through the orange and concluded with Huth’s beautiful ball bent into the path of Engen to finish from close range.
There was time for another before the break, Harder smashing in a shot from outside the area. Ten minutes after the restart she had her eighth hat-trick of the season. Another Huth cross, another header, and it was five-nil. Glasgow got theirs, but still Wolfsburg came. Again, and again and again. Four minutes later Rauch made it 6-1, Harder got the seventh from another superb delivery by Huth and then two cruel own goals followed, but at least Glasgow had got one at the other end.