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Women's Champions League preview: Barcelona vs Hoffenheim

Holders Barcelona seek a third Group C win as they take on the German debutants.

Barcelona are on maximum points
Barcelona are on maximum points NurPhoto via Getty Images

 Reigning champions Barcelona, one of four sides in this inaugural group stage with maximum points from their opening two matches, face a Hoffenheim side who are aiming to get back to winning ways following a 4-0 loss at Arsenal on Matchday 2.

• The Primera División outfit have enjoyed 71% possession across their two Group C matches so far – the joint highest total in the competition along with Real Madrid.

• Jonatan Giraldez Costas' team have had 67 attempts at goal to date, more than any other club.

• Hoffenheim could not contain Arsenal’s abundance of attacking options on 14 October, Kim Little, Tobin Heath and Vivianne Miedema all finding the net before Leah Williamson's late header rounded off the scoring.

Ones to watch: Barcelona

Mariona Caldentey
• The 25-year-old extended her contract with the club on 4 November, penning a deal to keep her with the Blaugranes until 2024.

• The forward, who was an unused substitute for the Matchday 2 success at HB Køge, scored the opener and also provided an assist in the 4-1 success against Arsenal on 5 October, scooping the Player of the Match award.

• Caldentey has found the net in three of her last four UEFA Women's Champions League starts, converting a penalty in successive appearances back in March.

• The Spanish international, in her eighth season with Barcelona, was the only Barça player to feature in all 34 league matches last term, racking up the most starts and minutes played for the club in the 2020/21 Primera División.

Jenni Hermoso
• The 31-year-old, who remained on the bench for the 4-1 Matchday 1 win against Arsenal, opened her account in this season's competition with a late penalty in the 2-0 victory against HB Køge on 14 October.

• Hermoso's strike in Denmark on Matchday 2 made it seven strikes in eight outings for the forward in this tournament, including a round of 16 hat-trick against Fortuna Hjørring last term.

• She finished last season as the joint top scorer in the UEFA Women's Champions League with six goals, along with Chelsea's Fran Kirby.

• Although the Spanish international did not get on the scoresheet in the 4-0 final triumph against Chelsea back in May, she did win the penalty that led to the Blaugranes' second goal, and at the end of August she was named the tournament's Forward of the Season for 2020/21.

Sandra Paños
• The 29-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on 4 November, represented Barça for the 200th time in all competitions in the 8-1 Primera División victory against Real Sociedad on 31 October.

• She was named the UEFA Women's Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season for 2020/21, after keeping three clean sheets and conceding just twice in the competition last term.
• Just days before Paños helped to secure a maiden UEFA Women's Champions League trophy for Barcelona, she extended her contract with the club until 2024.

• The Spanish international is in her seventh campaign with Barcelona after joining from Levante in 2015, helping the club clinch the Primera División title in the last two seasons having been a runner-up in each of the previous four.

Ones to watch: Hoffenheim

Nicole Billa
• The 25-year-old drew a blank against Arsenal on Matchday 2 but leads the way with the most attempts for Die Kraichgauer so far in this group stage with seven, five of which have been on target.

• The striker was on the scoresheet in the 2-1 Bundesliga defeat of Wolfsburg on 17 October – Hoffenheim's first-ever victory against the two-time UEFA Women's Champions League winners at the 17th time of asking.

• The Austrian international notched 23 goals in the Frauen-Bundesliga last term, finishing as the division's top scorer with six more than her nearest challenger.

• Billa is currently in her seventh campaign with Hoffenheim, having joined from St. Pölten, where she won the ÖFB-Frauenliga in 2014/15, and extended her stay with her current employers until 2023 back in January.

Tine De Caigny
• The 24-year-old is the club's top scorer in the competition so far this term with three goals, two coming in the 5-0 Matchday 1 success against HB Køge to add to her one qualifying goal.

• De Caigny was one of two players to score more than once in the opening round of group stage matches this season, along with Wolfsburg's Tabea Wassmuth.

• The forward joined Die Kraichgauer ahead of the current campaign from Anderlecht, where she won the Belgian Women's Super League titles in each of her four full seasons with the club.

• The Belgian international finished as top scorer in qualifying for the 2022 UEFA Women's EURO with 12 goals.

Michaela Specht
• The 24-year-old is the only Hoffenheim outfield player to play every minute of their two UEFA Women's Champions League group stage matches.

• The defender made her 100th appearance for the club in all competitions in the DFB-Pokal defeat on penalties against Leverkusen on 31 October.

• Specht is in her seventh season with Die Kraichgauer having joined from Bayern, where she won a league title at under-17 level.

• The former German youth international was part of the side that won the 2014 Women's Under-17 European Championship in England.

Key stats

• Barcelona have won each of their last ten UEFA Women's Champions League matches at Estadi Johan Cruyff, scoring 33 goals and conceding only four.

• Barcelona have won 21 of their last 25 UEFA Women's Champions League matches (D1 L3).

• The Catalans have failed to score in just one of their last 26 games in the competition.

• Barcelona have conceded more than one goal in just two of their last 25 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.

• Barcelona have scored a total of just two goals in their previous five UEFA Women's Champions League matches against German clubs.

• Hoffenheim have lost only one of their previous six UEFA Women's Champions League matches this season (W4 D1).

• There has been a total of 15 goals in Hoffenheim's last three European fixtures.