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Women's Champions League final: Barcelona key players

We pick out the Barcelona players who could make the difference against Chelsea on Sunday in Gothenburg.

Can Sandra Paños deny Chelsea's attacking stars - and Jenni Hermoso find a way past the Blues' defence?
Can Sandra Paños deny Chelsea's attacking stars - and Jenni Hermoso find a way past the Blues' defence? UEFA via Getty Images

The keeper: Sandra Paños

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The Spain goalkeeper, whose father was a professional footballer and mother an athletics champion, broke into the top division aged 18 with Levante and moved to Barcelona in 2015. In the following five campaigns she featured in the UEFA Women's Champions League Squad of the Season four times, as many as Lyon's Sarah Bouhaddi, and must be a good bet to make it five this time.

Barcelona team guide

In her time at Barcelona, Paños has conceded on average just one goal every two games with several long spells of clean sheets, with similar form for Spain. Her agility, presence and ball distribution are all key to her stellar reputation.

Defensive rock: Mapi León

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In 2017 Barcelona made history by paying the first ever fee in Spanish women's domestic transfer to take León from Atlético. Also able to play at left-back, it is in the centre that León has made her name, combining strength, speed and technique, not to mention ball distribution.

Her regular defensive partner Andrea Pereira is suspended against Chelsea but the determined León, who has been established at the top for so long it is hard to think she is still only 25, should still prove a tough nut to crack for Chelsea's formidable forwards.

Playmaker: Alexia Putellas

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A one-time Barcelona trainee who returned aged 18 in 2012 and has not looked back since, Putellas keeps on getting better. Operating from the left of midfield and often overlapping ahead of the forwards, Putellas has had the most prolific season of her career (the highest-scoring midfielder in Europe's leading leagues) and is possessed of some outrageous tricks and skills.

Her recent promotion to be one of Spain's three captains is proof of her leadership on the pitch. She also wrote herself into history in January by scoring the opening goal in the first Barcelona women's match at the Camp Nou, as she also did in their debut game at their Estadi Johan Cryuff home. However, a thigh injury might make her a doubt for Sunday, which would be a huge blow to Barcelona.

Goalscorer: Jenni Hermoso

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Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona's scorer in the 2019 final, is just as prolific but the Nigeria striker's recent injury concerns mean that Hermoso is likely to lead the line against Chelsea. This season's joint top scorer in the competition with Fran Kirby, Hermoso returned to Barcelona in 2019 and has gone on to get 53 goals in 56 games.

However, Hermoso is more than just a goalscorer. Her ability to drop deep and switch to a creative role allows Lluís Cortés to deploy Hermoso as a 'False 9' if needed, often with Putellas overlapping.

Key players: Chelsea

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