PREVIEW: Barcelona v Lyon – including star players, kickoff time and how to watch Women’s Champions League final

A little under twelve months ago, Barcelona fans descended on the quaint Dutch city of Eindhoven in their droves to witness Jonatan Giráldez mastermind a stunning comeback against VfL Wolfsburg in the 2022/23 UEFA Women’s Champions League final.

The Blaugrana do not have as far to travel this time around: the 2023/24 final is being held at the San Mámes in Bilbao, with early UEFA estimates suggesting that 40,000 fans will make the trip from Catalunya as the club strive to retain their European crown.

It will be no mean feat. Barça will face Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday evening, led by Sonia Bompastor for the final time before she replaces Emma Hayes in the Chelsea dugout. “We know 80% or more of the supporters will come from Barcelona,” she told reporters in the pre-match press conference on Friday, “but we’re ready.”

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As eight-time winners of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, les Olympiennes will be keen to etch their name on the prized silverware again. This year’s showpiece finale certainly seems to carry extra weight. For Bompastor, there is pressure to bow out on a high and leave this Lyon side as European champions before she tries to bring that title to SW6 next season.

For Giráldez, there is a chance to bring a definitive end to Lyon’s dominance before he heads to the United States to take charge of the NWSL’s Washington Spirit.

“We’ll see,” joked Fridolina Rolfö when FromTheSpot asked her about the prospect of ending a run of form that has seen Lyon lift the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy in six of the last eight seasons.

Both teams have evolved since they met in Turin two years ago. Lyon ran out as comfortable winners on the day, but Aitana Bonmatí commented in the pre-match press conferences on Friday that she envisages “a 50/50 final, very equal” this time around.

The key players

You don’t win the Ballon d’Or for nothing. At the heart of the Barcelona midfield lies Aitana Bonmatí, a 26-year-old Catalunya native driving this Barcelona team – and indeed her national team too – forwards.

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When an ACL injury saw Alexia Putellas sidelined for over a year, Bonmatí stepped up to the plate and exceeded every expectation. For years, she had lived in the shadows of her compatriot; playing alongside her for both club and country.

But that year proved to be exactly what Bonmatí needed: a year in which eyes were firmly fixed on her every move. Barcelona lifted this trophy in Eindhoven last year, and if they are to achieve the same again, Bonmatí will no doubt play a defining role.

For Lyon, the returning Ada Hegerberg also boasts a plethora of experience on this stage. A six-time UEFA Women’s Champions League winner, the Norwegian forward has only recently returned from injury – but Sonia Bompastor insists that the 28-year-old “has been training as normal” for the last few weeks.

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The beauty for both of these sides, however, is that there is a point to which injuries do not matter. The quality in depth at both clubs is truly something to behold, perhaps best demonstrated by Lyon’s stunning semifinal victory against Paris Saint-Germain.

What did the managers say?

In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez stressed that he envisages “a game where we need to dominate for 90 minutes.”

“We play football to win, and if we’re at Barca, it’s for winning trophies,” he added. “The last three seasons have been fantastic, it’s very difficult to improve everything we’ve done up until now.”

Sonia Bompastor commented that “Barcelona over the last two seasons have evolved. They have changed their methodology. The team is different from the team that it was two years ago,” but emphasised that Lyon “are focusing on ourselves.”

When does the match kick off?

Kickoff for the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Lyon at the San Mámes in Bilbao is scheduled for 17:00 BST [18:00 CEST] on Saturday, 25 May 2024.

How can I watch the UEFA Women’s Champions League final?

The 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League final will be shown for free on DAZN Women’s Football YouTube channel.

FromTheSpot will also provide extensive coverage of the buildup and the match itself on FromTheSpot.co.uk and our X account.


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