The ongoing Women’s Champions League season has been full of exciting moments and new achievements. Another noteworthy event is set to happen when Barcelona and Wolfsburg compete in the final match. What key details should you be aware of before the game begins?
In an unprecedented achievement, the upcoming Women’s Champions League final on June 3 will be held at the Philips Stadium, typically occupied by PSV Eindhoven. This milestone marks the first time since the 2009-10 rebranding that a European competition final has sold out. Surpassing all expectations, UEFA announced the complete exhaustion of tickets two weeks prior to the event. As the final makes its debut in the Netherlands, a crowd of 35,000 spectators eagerly anticipates the match.
Record Breaking Attendances
The 2022-23 Women’s Champions League season as a whole has witnessed remarkable success, boasting record-breaking attendances. With an average of 10,800 spectators per game, an improvement from last year’s figure of 9,043, the competition has flourished. Notably, these statistics exclude attendance for the highly anticipated final.
In the semifinals, something historic occurred for the Arsenal women’s team. They played against Wolfsburg, and for the first time ever, they sold out the Emirates Stadium. It was a memorable moment for them.
However, the biggest crowd of the entire season gathered for the Barcelona versus Chelsea match. A whopping 72,262 people watched as Barcelona fought their way into the final.
These numbers are significant because they indicate that the 2022 EUROs had a huge impact. Not only in England, but also in other European countries, women’s soccer is attracting larger audiences. It seems like there’s a positive trend of increasing interest in the sport.
Queen of the Soccer Field Returns
The best women’s soccer player was almost unable to play this season because of a knee injury, but Alexia Putellas couldn’t have picked a better match to make her comeback in the European competition than the final against Wolfsburg. The Barcelona midfielder, known as “La Reina” by Barcelona fans, will experience a truly special atmosphere.
Out of all the female soccer stars who suffered knee injuries in the past year, Putellas’ injury was one of the most significant. When she got hurt during Spain’s training session before the EUROs last July, it was a huge setback for both the Spanish national team and the entire sport itself.
Once again, Putellas chose the perfect match to make her return. She made her first appearance as a substitute on April 30 against Sporting Huelva, where Barcelona won their fourth consecutive league title. Since then, the Ballon d’Or winner has scored her first goal after recovering from an injury in Barcelona’s last league game against Madrid CFF. However, it’s still uncertain whether she will be in the starting lineup for the final.
An Exciting Rematch
Both teams have played against each other in two semifinals in the last three years. Last time, Barcelona won the match. The She-Wolves scored goals through Tabea Waßmuth and Jill Roord in their home game, but Barcelona won overall with a 5-1 victory at their home stadium. This match had the highest attendance in women’s soccer history, with 91,648 fans.
In the 2019-20 semifinal, the German team won 1-0 and advanced to the next round. This year, there is no clear favorite for the title, but Barcelona may have a slight advantage because they have all their key players available. On the other hand, Wolfsburg will be missing their central midfielder Lena Lattwein.
The Battle of the Midfielders
Both teams are known for their strong performance and have regularly gone deep in the Champions League, thanks to their strong midfield players.
For Barcelona, Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí lead the game and make important decisions on the field. On the other side, Wolfsburg relies on Lena Oberdorf and Alexandra Popp to control the game. In the previous match, both Barcelona players were present, but Oberdorf was absent for the She-Wolves.
There are notable differences between the midfielders of the two teams. Putellas and Bonmatí excel in technical skills and passing accuracy, which are trademarks of Barcelona’s style of play. On the other hand, Wolfsburg is known for its physicality and its ability to win challenges. Oberdorf focuses more on defensive duties, while Popp is a serious threat in front of the goal, especially in heading duels.
An Era in Transition?
Is it time for a new champion in European women’s football? Olympique Lyonnais, the most successful club in the competition’s history, has been experiencing a decline this season. They have been the dominant team, winning eight titles and even defeating Barcelona in last year’s final. However, their performance has not been up to par lately, opening the door for a potential new champion.
For five consecutive years, Lyon reigned supreme, making it seem like no team could surpass them. But Barcelona ended their winning streak two years ago, and now they have a chance to rise again as a strong contender in the Champions League. However, they face a different challenge in Wolfsburg.
If Barcelona or Wolfsburg win the final, they could potentially become the new powerhouse in European women’s football, taking over Lyon’s throne. The Spanish club seems to have a promising future ahead.
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