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Women’s Champions League Final Preview: Can Barcelona establish a new European dynasty?

Barça Femení look to finish a difficult season with their second European title in three years

FC Barcelona Training Session And Press Conference - UEFA Women’s Champions League Final 2022/23 Photo by Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Barcelona Femení arrive in Eindhoven, Netherlands for the 2023 Women’s Champions League Final at the end of what has undoubtedly been their most difficult season in recent years — for their own ridiculous standards.

They are still clearly the best team in the world, but for most of this calendar year they haven’t looked quite as dominant as they did in the two prior seasons — when they completely destroyed both Spain and Europe, scored over 350 combined goals and had only one bad night against Lyon that denied a second Champions League title in a row and ended a perfect season.

But Alexia Putellas got hurt, and not having the world’s best footballer for 90% of the season had a real impact. The start of the campaign was great, with a record 29 goals scored in the Champions League group stage. But a loss to Bayern Munich in the group stage proved that this season’s side isn’t quite as imposing or terrifying as previous versions.

Getting past Chelsea in the semi-finals was a brutal task, far tougher than the 2021 Final destruction that gave Femení their first ever European title. Their attack is a tad less explosive, and Putellas hasn’t played enough football since her return from a serious knee injury to make her truly 100% for the biggest game of the season.

And Wolfsburg is a real test, with a type of team and football that presents a matchup nightmare for Barça. They are physical and fast, with dangerous set pieces and a killer counter-attack. They are experienced and learned a lot of lessons from their semi-final loss to Barça last season, and have revenge on their mind ahead of this one.

This is as vulnerable as the all-conquering Barça women’s team will ever be, yet they are still favorites and have two massive reinforcements for the Final: right-back Lucy Bronze, who was by far the team’s best player before suffering an injury two months ago, and winger Caroline Graham Hansen, who has finally recovered from an illness in time to face her former club in the final.

Putellas will likely start on the bench, but looked very sharp in the league season finale against Madrid CFF two weeks ago and is ready to unleash hell in the second half. Top scorer Asisat Oshoala will be out with injury, but this Femení team has learned to play low-scoring matches where things don’t exactly look and feel as fluid. They have a different spirit and love the ugly side of the game now, and even if Wolfsburg cause as many problems as they are capable of, Barça can still find a way to win.

And if they do, there will be a new European dynasty in women’s football. Lyon were untouchable for a long time, but Barça will make a serious case if they win their second title in three years, having made three straight Final appearances and going into next season with their best player fully healthy again.

Don’t let them win this one, Europe. You might not see that trophy again for a while.


Competition/Round: 2023 Women’s Champions League Final

Date/Time: Saturday, June 3, 2023, 4pm CET (Barcelona), 3pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 10am ET, 7am PT (USA), 7.30pm IST (India)

Venue: PSV Stadium, Eindhoven, Netherlands

How to watch: DAZN (Worldwide, YouTube, FREE)


Barcelona (4-3-3): Paños; Bronze, Paredes, Mapi, Rolfö; Aitana, Walsh, Patri; Graham, Caldentey, Paralluelo

Wolfsburg (4-2-3-1): Frohms; Wilms, Hendrich, Janssen, Rauch; Oberdorf, Lattwein; Huth, Roord, Popp; Pajor


I have a lot of respect for Wolfsburg and they are a very difficult matchup for Barça’s style, but I’m still trusting the good girls: 2-1 Femení.

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