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This Week in Barça Femení: Forgot About Lieke

A strong start to a crucial January with a Dutch star shining bright

FC Barcelona V Madrid CFF - La Liga Iberdrola Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona’s all-conquering women’s team returned to action for what is going to be a big January in Femení land. There are two gigantic matches coming up next week, and the Blaugrana ladies got to warm up with two games in the Primera División.

The first was last Saturday against fourth-place Granadilla in Tenerife. This was the first match of the league season and Barça won 5-0, and they found a way to be even better this time around with a 7-0 destruction with 90 minutes of pure dominance and two goals from Lieke Martens.

Three days later the reigning champions were back home for the first game of 2022 at the Johan Cruyff Stadium against relegation candidate Sporting Huelva. The first half was tough and the visitors defended quite well, but as they usually do Barça found the goals in the second half and finished with a 5-0 win. Martens shined again, with a hat-trick and an assist.

Martens has been unbelievable since returning from a broken hand in December, and with all of the awards going to Alexia Putellas lately it is easy to forget just how good Lieke is. But the Dutch superstar is making sure to remind everyone that she’s just as good as the best player in the world. And they both play for Barça, which is the best part.

The last week was a big one off the pitch as well, with the announcement that the Women’s El Clásico in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid will be played at Camp Nou. And if that’s not exciting enough, Barça announced on Friday that a whopping 70,000 tickets have already been sold two months ahead of time.

If Covid-19 doesn’t have other ideas until then, there is a very good chance that the Greatest Stadium on Earth will be completely full for what will be a historic night for women’s football.

But we don’t have to wait until March for a women’s Clásico: Barça and Real will face off in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup next Wednesday in the Spanish capital, exactly one week after the men faced off in Saudi Arabia. The winner will play in the Final next Sunday, and after being eliminated by Atlético Madrid in the semi-final stage last year Barça will be hungry to win the Supercopa in 2022.

Before the Clásico, however, there is a huge match to play in the league on Sunday: Barça travel to the Basque Country to face second-place Real Sociedad, who have found a way to keep pace with the leaders. Even though they are perfect through the first 17 games, the Blaugrana are just eight points ahead of Sociedad and the title race could get very interesting if La Real become the first team to take points from Barça this season.

To finish off a busy week for Barça Femení, a big transfer rumor: Barça are looking ahead to next season and have joined Paris Saint-Germain in the race for Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema, one of the very best goal-scoring forwards in women’s football who would no doubt improve any team in the world, including Barça.

Miedema could be available on a free transfer if she doesn’t sign an extension with Arsenal, and Barça will no doubt be the best football destination even though PSG will probably offer her more money. Something worth keeping an eye on.