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  • Writer's pictureMykala Ranger

The Battle to be the Best: Olympique Lyonnais vs Barcelona Femeni

Left: Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas in a pink and blue striped jersey. Center: Silver UEFA Women's Champions League trophy. Right: Olympique Lyonnais striker Ada Hegerberg in a white jersey with red and blue vertical stripes

Saturday, May 21, 2022, has the potential to be a historic day in women’s football as the two finalists for the UEFA Women's Champions League: Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona Femeni are set to face each other at 1 p.m. EST. Both teams have a rich history with the competition and strive to establish themselves as the crown jewel of women’s football.

Olympique Lyonnais seeks to continue their reign of dominance as historically the most successful club in Women’s Champions League history. Lyon has lifted the trophy seven times, including a staggering five consecutive wins in a row from 2016-2020. Lyon suffered their first major fall from grace in 2021 after being knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-final stage on aggregate by their French rival Paris Saint-Germain. Lyon also failed to win the domestic league title for the first time after 14 straight wins in 2021.

Under new head coach and former Lyon midfielder Sonia Bompastor, Lyon has come back victorious and aims to regain their place in women’s football. Lyon is headed by a star-studded lineup containing a mix of experience and youth with players such as: Wendie Renard, Ada Hegerberg, and Catarina Macario. Captain of Olympique Lyonnais, Wendie Renard, has been a stalwart in Lyon’s defense. Ada Hegerberg is one of the players to beat as she is the most prolific goal scorer in Women’s Champions League History with a current total of 58 goals. United States Women’s National Team starlet, Catarina Macario, burst onto the scene for Lyon in 2021 and has continued that momentum into 2022, currently the top scorer for her club across all competitions at 22 years old.

Is Olympique Lyonnais’ lineage of success and promising players enough to secure an eighth Champions League Trophy, or will Barcelona Femeni top off their sensational season with a second trophy in club history?

For the first time ever, Barcelona Femeni lifted the trophy in the Champions League at the end 2020/2021 season after defeating the French powerhouse club Paris Saint-Germain. This season, Barcelona Femeni enters the Champions League final coming off a perfect run in their domestic league the Primera Division Femenina, with 30 games played and 30 wins to earn a full 90 points. Throughout all competitions under new head coach Jonatan Giraldez, Barcelona has been nearly undefeated in the entire 2021/2022 season.

Looking to defend their European title, Barcelona has scored over 200 goals across all competitions while conceding only 18. Spanish rivals Real Madrid added to that tally of concession against Barcelona within the 1st round of Champions League quarterfinals, but Barcelona bounced back with a vengeance to defeat them 3-1. Barcelona suffered their first and only loss all season to Wolfsburg in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semifinal but still advanced on aggregate.

At the forefront of Barcelona’s dominance are Alexia Putellas, Jennifer Hermoso and Asisat Ohsoala. Alexia Putellas is Barcelona’s star midfielder and even more notably the 2021 recipient of the most prestigious award in football: the Ballon D’Or, awarded to the overall best player. Putellas is also the overall top scorer in the Champions League with 10 goals, an accolade shared with Wolfsburg’s Tabea Waßmuth. Jennifer Hermoso is a key player that pulls the strings and finishes with deadly accuracy as Barcelona’s striker. Asisat Oshoala poses an offensive threat both in the Primera Division and the Champions League having scored 20 goals in 19 appearances in the former.

The matchup between both European powerhouse clubs will be a hard fought and tantalizing battle from start to finish. The last time Lyon and Barcelona faced each other in a Champions League final, Lyon reigned triumphant with a 4-1 victory. This final will be the first time these teams have played against each other since the Women’s International Champions Cup in 2021 in which Lyon also won with a score of 3-2. Olympique Lyonnais will attempt to rewrite history from a devastating loss last season and Barcelona Femeni will set out to defend their title in the biggest clash of the year.

Tune in on Saturday May 21 at 1 p.m. EST on DAZN’s YouTube channel to see who will reign supreme in Turin, Italy. The match will be live streamed in multiple languages and countries on DAZN’s website and YouTube channel.


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