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Women's Champions League final: Meet the teams – Barcelona

What's their pedigree and how did they get here? A closer look at Barcelona.

UEFA via Getty Images

Team

Possible XI: Paños; Torrejón, Guijarro, Mapi León, Ouahabi; Losada, Hamraoui, Putellas; Graham Hansen, Hermoso, Martens

Suspended: Andrea Pereira (defender)
Injured: Andrea Falcón (forward/winger)
Doubtful: Alexia Putellas (midfielder)

Meet the teams: Chelsea

Pedigree

UEFA club ranking: 2
Previous finals: 1 (2019, L1-4 vs Lyon)

Route to the final

Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas celebrate reaching the final
Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas celebrate reaching the finalUEFA via Getty Images

Qualified: Spanish champions
Round of 32
: PSV Eindhoven 8-2agg
Round of 16: Fortuna Hjørring 9-0agg
Quarter-finals: Manchester City 4-2agg
Semi-finals: Paris Saint-Germain 3-2agg
Season top scorer: Jenni Hermoso (6)

Why they can win it

Barcelona have reached at least the quarter-finals for the last five seasons and have been getting better every year. They did make the final in 2019 but were big outsiders against Lyon in Budapest and found themselves 4-0 down early on. Last season by contrast Barcelona were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to Wolfsburg in the semis and their performances against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain this time round have given them the look of Lyon a decade ago before their first title: a team from a league yet to taste victory in this competition but seeming to have all ingredients in place with the best of national talent topped up by astute foreign signings.

Barcelona player guide

Since that loss to Wolfsburg in August, Barcelona have won 35, drawn two and lost one of 38 competitive games, scoring 166 goals and conceding 13. The one defeat other than on penalties was 2-1 at City in the quarter-finals when Barcelona were already 3-0 up from the first leg; they are now a team that can consider themselves underdogs to nobody. They underlined that last Sunday by wrapping up a record sixth Spanish title with eight games to spare, having won all 26 league fixtures so far.

Campaign so far

Newcomers PSV Eindhoven and old campaigners Fortuna Hjørring were both blown away with ease, Barcelona scoring at least four in each leg. Even more impressive was the quarter-final against City; the home leg was moved to Monza but Barcelona's momentum was not slowed, Asisat Oshoala inspiring a brilliant 3-0 victory and also scoring in the return to dash City's hopes of a comeback.

Barcelona had twice previously been knocked out by Paris, who hosted the semi-final first leg just a week after they had ended Lyon's five-year reign as champions. Jenni Hermoso got her sixth of the campaign early on and although Alana Cook equalised, the 1-1 draw seemed to give Barcelona the edge. And so it proved back at Estadi Johan Cruyff as two Lieke Martens goals set them on their way; even after Paris pulled one back, Barcelona looked the more likely to score.

Talking tactics

Lluís Cortés after leading Barcelona to a second final in three years
Lluís Cortés after leading Barcelona to a second final in three yearsUEFA via Getty Images

Since adding Hermoso and Caroline Graham Hansen in summer 2019, Lluís Cortés has had a stable squad who line up in a well-drilled 4-3-3. The mobile Hermoso (55) and athletic Oshoala (47) have 102 goals between them in the last two seasons but often only one starts, especially with the Nigerian suffering recent injury problems. Graham Hansen, Martens and Mariona Caldentey provide options in the wide positions while Alexia Putellas is also a prolific source of goals, usually from midfield, and often goes in advance of the regular attackers as Cortés deploys 'False 9' tactics.

Putellas is usually on the left, with Aitana Bonmati the right-sided playmaker. Vicky Losada, Patri Guijarro and Kheira Hamraoui are central midfield options. At the back the normal central partnership will be broken up due to Andrea Pereira's suspension; the powerful Mapi León will have a new partner, possibly Guijarro. Full-backs Marta Torrejón and Leila Ouahabi are able to push forward when needed and Sandra Paños is a goalkeeper of the highest class.

The boss: Lluís Cortés

Cortés, who has degrees in PE ('Science of Physical Education and Sport') and PR ('Advertising and Public Relations') joined Barcelona in 2017 as an analyst. The former Lleida player became part of the women's coaching team, and then took charge in January 2019. He soon took them to their first European final and has barely tasted defeat since. The 34-year-old agreed another season-long contract extension last week.

He told UEFA.com: "I feel lucky and privileged to be the manager of this team and this group of fantastic players and wonderful people. I feel privileged to experience football, the sport we love, on a daily basis alongside so many great people, both on the staff and in the squad. I think we're like a family and there’s a very good vibe within the group. Everyone is very easy to work with each day."