TSG narrowly miss out on miracle against Arsenal

What a final performance for TSG's women in the UEFA Women's Champions League! Coach Gabor Gallai's side beat Arsenal WFC 4-1 (1-1) in their last home game. Chantal Hagel scored a brace, with Jule Brand and Gia Corley also getting on the scoresheet. In the end, TSG only needed two more goals to pull off a miracle at the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion and progress into the round of 16.

Personnel and tactics

Whilst it may have felt impossible, TSG still had a chance of making it into the round of 16. Faced with a three-point deficit and a 4-0 defeat in the first leg, TSG's women needed to beat Arsenal WFC by a margin of five goals to reach the round of 16 in the UEFA Women's Champions League, in front of 750 spectators at the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion.

Head coach Gabor Gallai commenced operation "miracle on Silbergasse" with three changes to his starting eleven that drew 1-1 with SC Sand last Sunday. Judith Steinert, Anne Fühnert, and Nicole Billa started the game on the bench. They were replaced by the Austrian full-back duo of Katharina Naschenweng and Laura Wienroither, as well as attacker Tine De Caigny.

Thinking about the five goals that were needed, Gallai chose an attacking 4-3-3 formation to begin with. In front of goalkeeper Martina Tufekovic stood central defenders Michaela Specht and Jana Feldkamp, with Wienroither at right-back and Naschenweng at left-back. Captain Fabienne Dongus played as a six, with Gia Corley and Chantal Hagel as the right and left attacking midfielders respectively. The forward line consisted of De Caigny in the centre, Jule Brand on the left flank, and Sarai Linder on the right.

Even though the English side showed their quality time and again, TSG played well in the first half. Gallai's side were especially dangerous through Jule Brand, but England international Beth Mead kept Arsenal moving forward down the other end. It was the team from Kraichgau, however, that took the lead. The goal was scored by Brand after a beautiful assist from Corley. TSG then had the chance to make it 2-0, but it was the visitors that got the second goal of the game after Tufekovic couldn't hold onto a shot from Mead and Wienroither hit it into her own net in an attempt to clear it.

Things then got dramatic in the second half, where four frantic minutes almost provided TSG with a miracle. Hagel scored twice within two minutes and then Corley scored two minutes later to make it 4-1 with 31 minutes to play. Arsenal's women, however, managed to successfully keep the action away from their goal for the most part in the time that followed. Gallai's team kept up the pressure in the final 15 minutes of the game, but the two extra goals weren't to be.

TSG said goodbye to the Champions League with a bang and an extraordinary game. With three wins from six, the side from the Kraichgau certainly made an impression in their debut on the international stage. Today's game was the crowning glory.

Match highlights

5. Min.

Arsenal's women had the first good chance of the game. Mead, who had already made herself present in the first few minutes, ran into the box with pace and had a free shot against Tufekovic. However, the TSG goalkeeper made a strong save with her feet to deny Mead's low shot. 

14. Min.

TSG's first meaningful attack! Brand cut in from the left flank and left her opponents for dust in the box. She skipped past another defender at the five-yard mark, but her cross was then blocked.

17. Min.

Good cross from Mead on the right. Vivianne Miedema met the ball at the five-yard mark, but her attempt went just wide of the right-hand post.

22. Min.


TSG lead! It started with a well-played counter from Corley, with the 19-year-old cutting through the centre and playing a perfect pass towards Brand, who shot and scored from close range. 1-0, and only four goals to go for the last 16!

30. Min.

Almost 2-0! Linder was released beautifully down the right in front of the box, where she could have made an attempt on goal herself. However, she decided to chip it into the middle towards De Caigny, who just arrived too late to make any contact. 

37. Min.

You can always rely on Tufekovic. The TSG keeper was well-positioned and reacted well to Arsenal captain Kim Little's attempt from the right-hand side. It was well-held, and the score remains 1-0.

38. Min.

Goal for Arsenal

But now it's happened, and it's Mead again who created the chance. The England international striker shot from the edge of the box and Tufekovic couldn't hold onto it. Wienroither tried to clear it before ex-Hoffenheim player Mana Iwabuchi could reach it, but her clearance smacked off the post and went into her own goal.

52. Min.

TSG with the first chance of the second half. Brand once again dances into the box, and after outwitting her opponent on the right she tries to chip the ball into the left-hand corner but just misses.

55. Min.


2-1!! It's really clever play from Gallai's side. Hagel wins the ball in the middle in front of the Londoners' box and there's some quick passes to De Caigny and then Linder at the sixteen-yard line. Linder threads it through to the five-yard mark where Hagel completes her run and smashes it into the top corner.

57. Min.


What is happening? Hagel has her brace! The midfielder intercepts the ball in the centre and is free to run straight through the middle towards the Arsenal goal. She keeps her cool from the edge of the area and lifts it over goalkeeper Lydia Williams into the net. Just three goals needed now...

59. Min.


Wow! It's 4-1. Brand knocked it past her marker to the left-hand by-line and sent a perfect cross into the middle, where 1.59m-tall Corley leaped into the air and headed it in from five metres. There's still half an hour to play and only two goals are needed to make it into the round of 16.

73. Min.

Now it's Arsenal again. Substitute Nikita Parris crosses it into the middle from the right and Miedema gets her head onto it but can't get generate enough power.

89. Min.

Tufekovic keeps the hope of the dream alive! Miedema is through on goal and one-on-one against the TSG goalkeeper. After the Dutch player knocked it past Tufekovic, the keeper kept with her and blocked the ball. She then saved the follow-up shot too and the score remained 4-1.

Match facts and statistics »

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