Lyon supremacy continues

The season ended with a unique eight-team tournament but the winners were the same as Lyon made it five in a row.

Lyon, now the seven-time champions
Lyon, now the seven-time champions Getty Images

There was nothing usual about how the 2019/20 UEFA Women's Champions League concluded, except for who was lifting the trophy.

Not long before the scheduled quarter-finals in March, the competition was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the planned May final in Vienna, an eight-team knockout of one-off ties was held behind closed doors in August in Bilbao and San Sebastián.

2020 final highlights: Wolfsburg 1-3 Lyon
2020 final highlights: Wolfsburg 1-3 Lyon

A record 62 clubs from 50 countries had began the journey but by the quarter-finals some familiar names were involved, though not all as Atlético Madrid knocked out Manchester City for the second year running to secure a maiden last-eight tie. Glasgow City surprised Brøndby on penalties, matching their run of 2014/15.

Also in the round of 16, as her Lyon side became the first in the tournament's history to pass 100 games, Ada Hegerberg overtook Anja Mittag to become the competition's all-time top scorer on 53 goals, on just her 50th appearance. However, a cruciate ligament injury in January was to rule the 2019 final hat-trick hero out of the rest of the season, even after the delay.

Still, Lyon travelled with a fifth straight title and seventh overall in their sights, though Bayern ran them close in the last eight before losing 2-1. Paris Saint-Germain won by the same score against Arsenal, in a record 13th quarter-final after ending a five-year European absence. Barcelona pipped Atlético 1-0 and Pernille Harder struck four as Wolfsburg sailed past Glasgow.

Watch the top five UEFA Women's Champions League goals of the season
Watch the top five UEFA Women's Champions League goals of the season

It was tighter for Wolfsburg in the semis but they edged 2018/19 runners-up Barcelona through Fridolina Rolfö and the other tie also ended 1-0, the all-time appearance leader Wendie Renard heading Lyon past Paris. This meant that, for the fourth time in eight seasons, it was a Wolfsburg vs Lyon final.

Wolfsburg had beaten Lyon in 2013 on debut but in the last four seasons had always been knocked out by the French side, including losing the epic 2016 and 2018 deciders. This time Wolfsburg found themselves 2-0 down at the break in San Sebastián through Eugénie Le Sommer and Saki Kumagai, both goals created by Delphine Cascarino on the right.

In the second half, Wolfsburg came out fighting and pulled one back before the hour via captain Alex Popp, like Sarah Bouhaddi, Renard and Le Sommer a veteran of all these teams' competition-record eight meetings. Now the title was up for grabs, but in the final minute Lyon clinched a 3-1 victory through Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, who had only signed from Wolfsburg the previous month and was now becoming the first Icelandic winner of this competition.

Watch highlights of Lyon's seven final wins and trophy lifts
Watch highlights of Lyon's seven final wins and trophy lifts

For Renard, Bouhaddi – in their ninth finals with Lyon – and Le Sommer, this was their seventh title, one more than Paco Gento's male record. Seven-time champions as a club in the space of ten years, Lyon had themselves matched the five in a row of Gento's Real Madrid in the opening years of the European Cup, and for the first time managed a perfect season, only previous achieved by Umeå in 2003/04.

Bouhaddi reflected: "It's actually quite difficult to believe we have managed our fifth straight title, to be honest. We're super-proud of ourselves; it was a very difficult competition ... If you sign for Lyon, you sign up to be a winner."