Despite a very early goal for Chelsea at Kingsmeadow Stadium, Wolfsburg replied three times to return to Germany with a 3-1 advantage for the Champions League semi-final 2nd leg.
A fantastic start for Chelsea saw them ahead inside only 2 minutes, Fran Kirby beating Noelle Maritz and centering for Ji So-Yunwho turned and fired low into the far corner of the net.
Wolfsburg were back on level terms in the 17th minute, Lara Dickenmann’s cross met by a firm header six yards out by Sara Bjork Gunnarsdóttir.
It might have been a second for the visitors midway through the half, Ewa Pajor’s shot a foot wide of Hedvig Lindahl far post.
Ji saw her shot deflected for a corner after Drew Spence’s ball in was challenged for by Erin Cuthbert but Millie Bright’s header was just too high.
Moments later and Nilla Fischer was booked for a foul on Cuthbert just outside the box, Magda Ericsson’s free kick parried by Almuth Schult, who eventually gathered Ji’s shot.
The pressure was immediately back on Chelsea and Wolfsburg took a 42nd-minute lead, Lena Goessling’s free-kick deflected into her own net by the unfortunate Millie Bright.
Five minutes after the break, Pernille Harder won a free-kick 25 yards out but her strike was safely gathered by Lindahl.
Although Chelsea had a good spell, they perhaps crucially conceded a third on 66 minutes, Goessling’s cross hooked home by Dickenmann with her back to goal.
The Blues are now left needing to score at least three goals in Wolfsburg next Sunday (live on BBC Red Button at 4.30pm) in order to make the final in Kiev.
Chelsea: 1 Hedvig Lindahl, 3 Hannah Blundell, 4 Millie Bright, 5 Gilly Flaherty (11 Claire Rafferty, 75 mins), 10 Ji So-Yun, 14 Francesca Kirby, 16 Magdalena Ericsson, 17 Katie Chapman (C), 18 Maren Mjelde, 22 Erin Cuthbert (7 Gemma Davison, 82 mins), 24 Drew Spence (9 Eniola Aluko, 67 mins)
Unused Subs: 28 Carly Telford, 21 Deanna Cooper
VfL Wolfsburg: 1 Almuth Schult, 4 Nilla Fischer (C), 7 Sara Bjork Gunnarsdóttir, 9 Anna Blässe (2 Isabel Kerschowski, 61 mins), 11 Alexandra Popp, 16 Noelle Maritz, 17 Ewa Pajor (10 Tessa Wullaert, 87 mins), 21 Lara Dickenmann, 22 Pernille Harder, 26 Caroline Graham Hansen (3 Zsanett Jakabfi, 77 mins), 28 Lena Goessling
Unused Subs: 29 Merle Frohms, 6 Katharina Baunach, 15 Anna-Lena Stolze, 24 Joelle Wedemeyer