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Women's Champions League semi-finals: Barcelona vs Wolfsburg, Lyon vs Paris Saint-Germain

The semi-finals may be replays of 2020 but two years on, the context could not be more different. Gear up for last-four ties with our key storylines.

The UEFA Women's Champions League has reached the semi-final stage
The UEFA Women's Champions League has reached the semi-final stage UEFA via Getty Images

The UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals might have a familiar look but with fans back in big numbers and intriguing new sub-plots at play, the rapidly-growing competition promises to serve up a treat at the last-four stage.

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We take a look at the matches that will decide who faces off in the final in Turin on 21 May.

Road to Turin

Semi-finals: first legs

Friday 22 April
Barcelona vs Wolfsburg (18:45)

Sunday 24 April
Lyon vs Paris Saint-Germain (17:00)

Semi-finals: second legs

Saturday 30 April
Wolfsburg vs Barcelona (18:00)
Paris Saint-Germain vs Lyon (21:00)

Final

Saturday 21 May, Juventus Stadium, Turin
Barcelona/Wolfsburg vs Lyon/Paris (19:00)

Haven't we met somewhere before?

Two years ago the semi-finals were the same as this season, but the context could not be more different. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the normal format was abandoned and the final eight played a series of one-off, behind-closed-doors ties in San Sebastián and Bilbao in August. Wolfsburg beat Barcelona 1-0 at the Anoeta and Lyon defeated Paris by the same scoreline at San Mamés.

This time, the ties will take place over the traditional two legs and in front of bumper crowds; the four home games in the quarter-finals for these clubs attracted a total attendance of 150,125. The two teams eliminated in 2020 went into those games as outsiders but will start as favourites for many pundits this time around. Write off Lyon and Wolfsburg at your peril, though; they have collectively recorded nine titles and 14 final appearances between 2009/10 and 2019/20.

2020 semi-final highlights: Wolfsburg 1-0 Barcelona
2020 semi-final highlights: Wolfsburg 1-0 Barcelona

Barcelona aim to turn tables on Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg won their first two European campaigns in 2012/13 and 2013/14 and although they remain on two titles, 2020 was their fifth showpiece. In eliminating Chelsea – who ousted them in the last eight a year ago – and Arsenal this season, they have proved themselves very much still among the elite.

Barcelona's European debut was also in 2012/13 but their road to the top has been longer. Wolfsburg beat them 5-0 on aggregate in their first quarter-final of 2014, and ended their bid to reach a second straight decider two years ago.

Now, fresh from storming to victory last season and cruising through the competition again this time – attracting that record Camp Nou crowd against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals – Barcelona appear the team to beat and Wolfsburg repeating their 2020 success could well count as an upset. Even the player that got the winner in San Sebastián, Fridolina Rolfö, is now a Barcelona player, linking up with another former Wolves star, Caroline Graham Hansen. Wolfsburg do have the current competition's top scorer, though; Tabea Wassmuth leads the way on nine goals – one clear of Alexia Putellas.

Europe's local rivalry

2020 semi-final highlights: Paris 0-1 Lyon
2020 semi-final highlights: Paris 0-1 Lyon

Even if Lyon and Paris had only ever met domestically, their showdown would be considered one of the biggest possible matches in Europe. Paris finally dethroned Lyon after 14 years as French champions last season, having only twice not finished runners-up to them in the previous decade.

The sides have also battled in several French Cup finals but in recent years have almost as much in UEFA competition as in domestic ones. In fact, this is the sixth time in eight seasons that they have collided – equalling the record of Lyon-Wolfsburg – and the second leg will be their tenth individual UEFA Women's Champions League match, drawing level with a mark set by Wolfsburg and Chelsea with December's group game.

2017 final: Lyon v Paris - Watch the full penalty shoot-out
2017 final: Lyon v Paris - Watch the full penalty shoot-out

Paris are the only team to knock out Lyon in the last eight seasons: first in the 2014/15 round of 16 with a 1-0 away win after a 1-1 draw in the capital, and then in the 2020/21 quarter-finals, PSG losing 1-0 at home but then prevailing 2-1 at OL Stadium to go through on away goals. The away goals rule has now been abolished and Lyon are at home first this time, just as in the 2015/16 semis when they won the opening game 7-0.

Lyon's 2017 final win on penalties in Cardiff and the narrow 2020 success in Bilbao are two more memorable European encounters; two more look set to come in a season where, domestically, OL beat Paris 6-1 with two late comeback goals by Ada Hegerberg in November, before fortunes were reversed 3-0 in the French Cup in January.

Where to watch

Just as in the group stage, all games will be streamed live and for free on DAZN//YouTube. You can also watch the DAZN streams in our MatchCentres.