Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder star: 5 things we learned as Chelsea reach Champions League final

Harder

Chelsea scored two late goals against Bayern Munich to reach their first Women’s Champions League final, while Barcelona will join them after seeing off PSG.

Emma Hayes’ side trailed the German giants 2-1 after the first-leg but won a thrilling contest 4-1, to progress 5-3 on aggregate.

A double from Fran Kirby, plus goals from Ji So-yun and Pernille Harder secured Chelsea’s place in Gothenburg on the 16th of May.

Elsewhere, Dutch forward Lieke Martens scored twice for Barcelona as the Spanish side overcame Lyon’s conquerors, PSG.

Here are five things we learned from today’s action:

Barcelona have so much quality upfront:

Lieke Martens may have stolen the headlines for Barcelona, but all three of their forward trio were impressive.

Jennifer Hermoso worked tirelessly, while Caroline Hansen was typically brilliant on the right-wing.

What makes the Catalonian side even more fearsome is that they started today’s game without the inform Asisat Oshoala.

Picking a starting eleven for the final may well prove to be a tough task for Lluís Cortés, but there is clearly more than enough star quality to choose from.

Barca

Emma Hayes is a tactical genius

Having taken Chelsea to the semi-finals in both 2018 and 2019, Hayes became the first female manager to reach the Women’s Champions League final in twelve years.

Her tactical expertise was once again evident today as Chelsea employed a relentless pressing game early on, before sitting back at the death and soaking up everything Bayern could throw at them.

As Kirby sealed the win late on, Hayes was reduced to tears as the prospect of winning the quadruple this year remains possible. Speaking after the games, the Chelsea boss said: “I’ve worked my whole life for today.”

Eriksson

Magdalena Eriksson is so crucial to Chelsea

It’s no secret that Chelsea missed Eriksson in the first leg, and the Swedish defender’s fitness was in doubt for today’s game.

The impact of her return cannot be understated though. Indeed, Chelsea’s skipper led from the front, marshalled her defence and made countless tackles and interceptions in the closing stages.

While the front three of Kerr, Kirby and Harder have rightly earned the majority of plaudits this season, Eriksson has proven she is quite simply irreplaceable in this Chelsea team.

Eriksson

Sarah Zadrazil scored the goal of the tournament

Bayern Munich had hardly been poor up until Zadrazil’s goal, but the Austrian’s stunner seemingly clicked them into life.

Picking the ball up on the edge of the box, the 28-year-old unleashed a volley into the top right corner as Ann-Katrin Berger stood motionless.

It was a goal that will live long in the memory for years to come and could yet have proved more historic had Bayern gone through in the end.


The final will be a classic

We already knew before today that they’d be a new name etched onto the Champions League trophy this year, but Chelsea vs Barcelona promises to be a mouth-watering final.

The Spanish league leaders, who have scored 127 goals this season and conceded just five –– versus England’s most formidable team, who remain on the hunt for four trophies this season.

Both sides have scintillating attacking options. Both sides have imposing, resolute defences. Both sides stand on the brink of history.

Whoever wins in Gothenburg, it’s sure to be a match for the ages.

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