UEFA Women's Champions League will have an unprecedented champion this 2021
We review the way to the final of FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC, as well as other interesting facts about the contest .
The road to this prestigious event left as finalists two clubs that will seek to win the trophy for the first time in their history, this being the perfect condiment for the most decisive match of the year. Photos: YT-Chelsea, YT-FC Barcelona
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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Women's soccer continues its inevitable evolution on a global level. And it is that although we all mobilize when it comes to a tournament in the men's field, women have also shown that passion that only the beautiful game is capable of transmitting in every corner of the planet. As a great example of this we have the UEFA Women's Champions League, the most important event in the old continent and where year after year we have seen the talent of many women.
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For this 2020/21 season, which is the 20th edition, the final will be played at the Gamla Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, the scene where three clubs from the city as well as the Swedish National Women's Team come to life. The road to this prestigious event left two clubs as finalists that will seek to win the trophy for the first time in their history, this being the perfect condiment for the most decisive match of the year.
Against all odds
Chelsea FC are the reigning champions of the England Women's Super League and are determined to initiate their hegemony in Europe. Under the command of coach Emma Hayes, this club had to eliminate difficult opponents in each phase. In their first stop, in the round of 32, they did not have so many problems and dispatched Benfica 8-0 on aggregate. The scorer quota was in charge of Bethany England (with 3 annotations), Francesca Kirby (2), Millie Bright, Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr.
From the round of 16 the level of demand was much higher. In front they ran into Atlético de Madrid, an important club in Spain that has a lot of Latin American talent. Still, in the first leg they managed to triumph 2-0 with goals from Maren Mjelde and Kirby, a comfortable result for the second leg that ended 1-1 with another participation on the scoreboard by Mjelde.
Next on the list was two-time champion Vfl Wolfsburg. The first leg was favorable for the English, who took the lead 2-1 with goals from Kerr and Harder. For the remaining 90 minutes, which promised a much more even game, Chelsea sentenced the key before half an hour and won 3-0 with the contribution of Harder, Kerr and Kirby.
For the semifinals, fate once again placed a German team: Bayern Munich. Things did not start well in the first leg and they fell 2-1 on their visit to Teutonic territory, this despite having more shots on goal and an early goal from Melanie Leupolz. However, at home they showed their power and qualified for their first final after winning 4-1 thanks to goals from Kirby (double), Harder and Ji So-Yun.
A new rematch
If there is a club in Spain that has been the protagonist in recent seasons, it is undoubtedly FC Barcelona. With Lluís Cortés as their technical director for two years, the Catalan team had an almost perfect path. PSV Eindhoven was the rival in the round of 32, a time that they passed without problems with an 8-2 aggregate. The protagonists of this key were Lieke Martens (with 3 goals), Caroline Hansen (2), Jenni Hermoso and Asisat Oshoala.
In the round of 16 they had to face Fortuna Hjørring from Denmark. During the 180 minutes, the Spanish team was vastly superior. A 4-0 at home, with a hattrick by Hermoso plus one by Alexia Putellas, served to calm the Nordic country and finish sentencing their pass to the quarterfinals with a 0-5. Aitana Bonmatí (2), Mariona Caldentey, Marta Torrejón and Oshoala joined the scoring cause.
For these instances the difficulty increased considerably, as they met England's runner-up on the road: Manchester City. The first leg seemed sentenced with the annotations of Oshoala, Hermoso and Mariona; however, the English fought on the return leg and almost matched the aggregate, only in the end they fell short at 2-1. Here, again, the Nigerian Oshoala was present on the scoreboard.
The rival that separated them from their second European final was PSG, a club that had just eliminated the current champion. The first 90 minutes could not be more even and with a goal from Hermoso the match ended 1-1. The home leg had the same script, only this time Martens scored twice to ticket Sweden after winning 2-1. Two years after their first attempt, Barcelona will have their revenge in the most important event on the continent.
For the 2001/02 season, UEFA decided to hold the first edition of the UEFA Cup, a tournament that sought to give the recognition and prestige that women's soccer in Europe deserved. Since then, a total of 132 teams have participated until the current Champions League, the new format that has been played since 2009/10 and which has given more prominence to women. Among the most prominent is Norway's Ada Hegerberg, top scorer with 53 touchdowns.
One of the things that stands out the most during the first editions is the fact that German and Swedish clubs formed an intense rivalry. Furthermore, only in five finals has there been a representative from Germany (2002/03, 2006/07, 2016/17, 2018/19 and 2020/21). And it is that up to four teams from that country have raised the trophy: FFC Frankfurt (4), Vfl Wolfsburg (2), Turbine Potsdam (2) and MSV Duisburg.
But with the arrival of the restructuring of the tournament, a hegemony from France was also present. Olympique Lyon took it upon themselves to dominate the Champions League with good soccer, winning seven trophies of which five were from 2015/16 to 2019/20 . It is even worth mentioning that the French have defeated Wolfsburg up to three times in the final, in addition to Barcelona and PSG.