Champions League Final Preview: Lyon vs Barcelona17 May, 2019
The all-conquering superstars of Lyon hold a record five Champions League titles and are used to being in this position, this is their eight final since 2010.
Despite being one of the biggest names in world football, this actually Barcelona’s first Champions League final. Their route to the final included a Kazakh side BIIK-Kazygur 4-3 on aggregate, a more comfortable second two-leg tie against Glasgow City and a quarter-final win against LSK Kvinner. Fran Sànchez’s Barcelona side secured their final spot with a tight 2-0 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich.
Defending champions, Lyon’s route to the final but it began with a very straight forward 7-0 win against Norwegian side Avaldsnes. They swotted aside Ajax 13-0 before being handed a quarter-final against their opponents in last year’s final, Wolfsburg. They won 6-3 over two legs. A huge result against one of the European powerhouses! They overcame a spirited Chelsea side with a 3-2 aggregate win.
England stars Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan will be on opposing sides in this titanic tussle. Sadly their international teammate Izzy Christiansen has failed to recover from broken her leg and damaged ankle ligaments.
Lyon will have Wales’ most capped player Jess Fishlock available and our Wales correspondent Darcie Barry describes the effect on the game Fishlock could have. “Jess is a Cardiff girl, playing at the highest level. She is a massive influence on me and is a leader of Lyon’s midfield. I can see her gaining control of the Barcelona midfield and Lyon having a little more class to win tomorrow.”
Barcelona’s Vicky Losada is confident that they can overcome the odds and beat the favourites. She said “They have lots of qualities but they are not invincible. They went through hardship playing against Chelsea and last year when we played against them it was not a clear win for them; it was just one goal in each match. That’s what we have to keep in mind. They are a good team but anything can happen and we can win the match.
“We know how Lyon play, we know how their teamwork and we believe in our capacities. We’ve worked really hard and we’ve gained respect in Europe.”
Our Tom Hussey has spent the last two years in Madrid as an Atlético Madrid season ticket holder but has also been paying particular attention to Barca’s rise. “Barça have been quietly adding to their squad over the last 2 years and have amassed a very strong team. Lieke Martens aside, they signed Mapi Leon & Andrea Pereira in defence (both from Atlético), Kheira Hamraoui from holders & opponents Lyon and in January they brought in Asisat Oshoala who has hit the ground running with 7 goals in as many games. All this plus a host of academy graduates that boast the same education as the best Men’s player in the game. And leading them through the middle: Vicky Losada (Arsenal fans will be familiar with her). A strong domestic campaign saw them narrowly lose the league title & receive a Copa de la Reina semi-final beating from Atlético. Plus they changed their manager at the start of 2019.”
You can catch watch the match live over on UEFA TV at www.youtube.com/uefatv but if you cannot get to watch it then we will be following the game on Twitter and Instagram at @Since71Blog.