There's less than a week to go until the highly anticipated Champions League final. On Sunday, a new era will dawn on the European competition as a new winner awaits to be crowned.
After seven-time winners Olympique Lyonnais tumbled from the tournament in the quarter-finals, a different buzz has surrounded the remaining fixtures. Paris Saint-Germain beat their D1 rivals in one of the most shocking results of the last decade. For the first time in six years, Lyon will not be lifting the Champions League trophy.
This season, Chelsea will take on Barcelona in Gothenburg in what will arguably be the most exciting fixture of 2021. GiveMeSport Women takes a look at the English side's chances of making history on Sunday...
The Blues rounded off another successful Women's Super League campaign by claiming their second consecutive title. With 18 wins, three draws and just the one loss, Chelsea were almost impossible to take points from. They finished the season with 69 goals and conceded only ten – the best record in the league for 2020/21.
Emma Hayes enjoyed watching some thrilling results from the sidelines, including the 9-0 win over Bristol City and title-deciding 2-2 draw vs Manchester City.
From their WSL goal tally, Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr netted 21 of them and contributed a further eight assists. Her teammate and partner in crime Fran Kirby also dominated in attack, notching 16 goals and 11 assists. Between them, the duo had a part to play in 56 of Chelsea's 69 goals scored – an astonishing amount from a partnership that is one of the best in the world right now.
Chelsea have already bagged themselves some silverware this season, putting them in the mood to add even more to their trophy cabinet. The Blues opened up their 2020/21 campaign with a win in the Community Shield, beating Man City to the honour at Wembley.
Along with their WSL title, they were also victorious in the Continental Cup, which took place at Vicarage Road back in February. Chelsea breezed to a win – dismantling a helpless Bristol City side by putting six past them in the final and retaining their crown in the competition.
As well as the upcoming Champions League final, the West Londoners are still in the running for the FA Cup too. Their next fixture will take place on Thursday, 20th May against Everton in the fifth round.
Player and team information
After picking up an injury in the Conti Cup final, Chelsea are without club icon and penalty expert Maren Mjelde. While she's a big miss for Hayes, the quality of the team's bench is simply too strong to be too heavily affected by the Norwegian's absence.
Chelsea have a plethora of talent waiting in the wings. Hayes will undoubtedly field her strongest XI against Barcelona on Sunday, but should things stagnate on the pitch, her bench has the high standard required to make a difference. The likes of Niamh Charles have impressed with her versatility and determination to adapt in a new environment. Players like her could be key in the Champions League final.
Former Chelsea defender Claire Rafferty recently spoke to GiveMeSport Women and tipped her old side to go on to win the whole thing.
"It's quite a bold statement but I really do think so," she admitted. "This squad has such incredible depth, immense strength and we've seen cracks in the likes of Bayern and Barcelona, so if not now then I don't know when."
The ex-Lioness went on to discuss how Chelsea are "feared" on the domestic stage and believes it's "about time someone knocked Lyon off their top spot."
Similarly, Karen Carney has been full of praise for her former team and waxed lyrical about the influence of Magda Eriksson and Ann-Katrin Berger.
"Goals win you games but clean sheets win you championships…[she’s] just a colossal defender," the BT Sport pundit said of the Chelsea skipper. "Left-footed with that leadership and mentality.
"[Berger's] been making these saves for years, but where I think she’s gone to a whole new level is her game management. She senses things –– when she needs to slow things down or kill the momentum. Her awareness, game understanding and distribution is second to none.”News Now - Sport News