On Sunday, a new Champions League winner will be crowned for the first time in six years. The dominant reign of Olympique Lyonnais will come to an end after they took a shock early exit from the competition last month.
The seven-time European champions were ejected from the tournament at the hands of D1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain, who were eventually snubbed out by finalists Barcelona in a thrilling 3-2 aggregate scoreline. Ahead of the final against Chelsea in Gothenburg, GiveMeSport Women takes a look at Barca's chances of winning the Champions League for the first time in the club's history...
Statistics and form
The Catalonians have enjoyed a stellar 2020/21 season, lifting the Primera Iberdrola trophy after an unstoppable league campaign. Like Chelsea, Barcelona are now champions in their respective league for the second consecutive season.
Lluis Cortes spearheaded his side to an unbelievable finish – winning 100 percent of their Division 1 fixtures. Barca netted an astonishing 126 goals across the season, which equates to an average of 4.9 goals per match. Along with their almost unheard of goal count, they conceded just five across the entire term, keeping 22 cleans sheets out of a possible 26.
The Catalonian side were recently crowned winners of the 2020 Copa de la Reina after beating Logrono in the final in February, following the postponement from last year's original date. They are also the holders of the inaugural Supercopa de España Femenina title, which got underway early last year for the first time.
Players on fire
Barcelona boast a fierce starting eleven and top quality bench. After securing their spot at the top of the Primera Iberdrola table just 12 weeks in – after which they didn't move from first position – they started scoring goals for fun.
Jenni Hermoso finished the season as the club's top scorer and second overall in the league with 16 goals. Asisat Oshoala also made the top five by netting 13 of her own. Hermoso was equally as impressive in her creative play, notching eight assists alongside teammate Mariona.
Caroline Graham Hansen finished with an impressive 12 assists to her name, the highest in the league this season
Champions League journey
Barcelona's road to Gothenburg has been nothing short of entertaining. Back-to-back 4-1 wins over PSV saw them breeze through the Round of 32, followed by a more than convincing 9-0 aggregate score over Fortuna Hjørring in the next stage.
The quarter-final was a tense affair as Women's Super League heavyweights Manchester City put Barca to the sword with their efforts. The English side came back fighting from an initial 3-0 Barcelona win – becoming the first side to beat them over 90 minutes in the 2020/21 season. However, thanks to Barca's strong start and an away goal from Asisat Oshoala in the second leg, they progressed into the semis to face PSG.
This fixture had fans on the edge of their seats as the world watched the side to eliminate Lyon take on the unstoppable Primera Iberdrola leaders. The first leg ended 1-1 after both sides netted early through Alana Cook and Jennifer Hermoso respectively. With everything to play for, Cortes and his team knew the magnitude of the reverse fixture at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.
Lieke Martens found the back of the net after eight minutes and doubled the scoreline just after the half an hour mark. PSG's Marie-Antoinette Katoto grabbed a goal back for the visitors, but it wasn't enough to keep them in the competition.
Speaking to GiveMeSport Women ahead of the semi-finals, Karen Carney admitted that Barcelona were a side she is glad Chelsea avoided during the previous stage in the competition.
"I think the other side of the draw is very tough as well," she said. "Both sides [PSG and Barca] are exceptional and I’m kind of glad that Chelsea aren’t facing either of them in the semi final."
We also take an in depth look at Chelsea ahead of the Champions League final. Read up on their stats, run of form and comments from Karen Carney and Claire Rafferty here.News Now - Sport News