Barcelona are officially through to the Women’s Champions League quarterfinals and extended their winning streak to 14 games to start the season thanks to a 5-0 victory over Hoffenheim in their fourth group stage match. Just like they did against this same opponent last week, Barça attacked and attacked and could have easily been in double digits, but had to settle for only a five-goal margin to stay perfect and move on to the knockout stage.
Hoffenheim were surprisingly excellent to start the game, pressing Barça high up the pitch with plenty of intensity and focring the visitors into some tough situations at the back. The home team’s pressure lasted about 10 minutes, but they couldn’t create any meaningful chances and Barça slowly but surely started to dominate.
After the 20-minute mark, however, it was all Femení: the Blaugrana pinned the Germans back and started to blitz the Hoffenheim box with attack after attack, creating chances through the ground and the air, and Fridolina Rolfö had three big opportunities but was unable to convert.
Alexia Putellas who had started quietly finally began imposing her will, and by the end of the half the captain was absolutely unplayable. Putellas earned a penalty when she was tackled inside the box by Wienroither, and scored it with ease to give the visitors a deserved lead.
At halftime, Barça were up by just the one goal despite deserving a lot more, and you could bet they were going to continue attacking to score more in the second half.
The final period was thoroughly dominated by Barça, who stepped up their pressure even more and got two goals before the 60-minute mark to put the result beyond any doubt: first Irene Paredes headed home a corner from Mapi León to make it 2-0, and a beautiful passing sequence down the left wing ended with an assist by Rolfö and a great finish from Aitana Bonmatí.
Barça continued to attack in the final half-hour and had at least six real goal-scoring chances, but a combination of poor finishing and some excellent saves by Hoffenheim keeper Tufekovic didn’t allow Barça to increase their lead.
But Femení will just not stop attacking and got two more goals in the dying seconds: a perfect cross from Clauda Pina found the head of Marta Torrejón to make it 4-0, and after they won the ball back inside the Hoffenheim box pressing high on a goal-kick in the 92nd minute, Rolfö gave Crnogorcevic a tap-in and Barça made it five on the night.
The final whistle came to confirm the inevitable: the European champions are moving on to the quarterfinals and will be favorites against whatever team they face then. And the group stage dominance continues: four games, four wins, four excellent performances, and the perfect season continues. What a team.
Hoffenheim: Tufekovic; Wienroither, Bühler, Specht, Naschenweng; Feldkamp, Dongus, Hagel; Corley, Billa, Brand
Barcelona: Paños; Jana, Paredes (Pereira 65’), Mapi (Melanie 73’), Leila (Marta 73’); Aitana (Pina 58’), Engen, Alexia; Crnogorcevic, Hermoso (Mariona 58’), Rolfö
Goals: Alexia (pen 41’), Paredes (53’), Aitana (57’), Marta (89’), Crnogorcevic (90+2’)