Hayes warns Chelsea must ‘respect Wolfsburg’s history’ as WSL champs aim to conquer rivals in Europe

EMMA HAYES says Chelsea are not taking Wolfsburg’s threat to their hunt for Women’s Champions glory for granted.

And the Blues boss suggested memories of her side’s dramatic loss to Barcelona last season’s finals have been well and truly put to bed.

The WSL champs will host the German giants on home turf tonight in the contest’s new group stage format introduced this season.

And their German opponents, who have won the tournament twice in their history, have never lost on English soil despite the Blues knocking them out of the contest quarter’s last term.

Hayes said: “I think you have to respect Wolfsburg's history.

"They have won the Champions League and they've competed at the top end for a lot of years.

“They have the knowledge and the experience of being there, so I don't feel we're underdogs, but I don't think we're clear favourites either.

“I think it's an evenly matched game where we've earned the right in Europe to reach that point.

“I think until we take that next step then quite rightfully, we've still got a lot of work to do.

“We respect Wolfsburg as a team. They're in the early stages of team development under their new coach but they're unbelievably athletic.

"This will be a high-intensity game.”

Chelsea go into this game having moved to third in the WSL and three points behind Arsenal and Tottenham following a 3-1 defeat of Brighton.

And the top-flight title-holders are playing in Europe for the first time since being beaten by frontrunners Barcelona who consigned the Gunners to a 4-1 defeat .

But Hayes insists her Blues are fully focused on the task ahead and their battle for silverware on all fronts.

Of course, we always want to win all of them (trophies) including the Champions League

The Kingsmeadow chief added: “Our preoccupation is on our daily practice and competing for every trophy.

“Of course, we always want to win all of them including the Champions League

"I just think we're one year better because of that experience last year.”

Blues captain Magda Eriksson believes her side are far more formidable opponents than they were last season.

And the Chelsea centre-back admitted to being ‘devastated’ to hear of the sexual misconduct allegations engulfing America’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)

Last week The Athletic last published a report including accusations made by players about England-born coach Paul Riley’s conduct and allegations relating to sexual coercion

Riley, who denies the allegations, was fired from his head coach role post of NWSL club North Carolina Courage following the publication of the report.

And games in the top-flight of women’s club football in America were suspended at the weekend with the division’s commissioner Lisa Baird quitting her role.

Fifa has initiated a preliminary investigation into the situation.

Eriksson said: “As players, we stay updated on what's happening in the women's football world and we are devastated to hear about these events in the NWSL.

“We discussed how horrifying it (the situation) is, but it's good that players are brave enough now to step forward

“I think there has to be a good system in place for when players speak up.”



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