Barcelona hunt Women’s Champions League revenge against Lyon

Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro has said she hopes it will be third time lucky against Lyon on Saturday as the Catalan side aim to avenge previous defeats to the French champions in the Champions League final.

Barça have never beaten Lyon and lost the 2019 and 2022 finals to them, but they go into the encounter as reigning European champions and closing in on what would be an historic quadruple.

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They are up against a Lyon team who have dominated the Champions League in recent history, winning it eight times since first lifting the trophy in 2011.

“It’s inevitable to think of [revenge] given the two finals we’ve lost against them,” Guijarro said, having scored twice in last year’s comeback win against Wolfsburg in the final.

“They are the best team in Europe; the team that’s won the Champions League the most times. I think it will be a beautiful final and, hopefully, it’s third time lucky [for us].”

Barça have bridged the gap on Lyon in recent years. This will be their fourth successive final appearance, while they won the competition in 2021 and 2023.

However, even with a win in Bilbao at San Mamés this weekend, Guijarro said Lyon should still be considered the top side in the European game.

“Lyon will still be the best [whatever the result],” Guijarro added. “It’s incredible what they have done. Lyon are Lyon, that will never… well, not never, but for now we can’t change that, hopefully one day, but there’s a long way to go.

“But it’s true that we’re a more mature team, that we’re changing and that’s positive, because each year we want to be better. We don’t want to be at a standstill because in the end, [all the other teams] are getting better.

“Beating Lyon would rid the thorn from our side after losing those two finals and also mean beating the biggest opponent in the sense that they are the best.”

Defender Marta Torrejón said she shares Guijarro’s respect for Lyon but is also eyeing revenge.

“I wouldn’t see [winning] as a changing of the guard because Lyon have shown over many seasons the capacity they have to win things — look at all Champions Leagues they have under their belt,” she said.

“But yes, there’s that small slice of revenge after losing those two finals, albeit from a position of respect. It is a beautiful challenge which we have been working hard for all season. [Beating Lyon] would be the cherry on top of the cake.”

England international Lucy Bronze was part of the Lyon team that beat Barça in 2019 but will be on the other side of the divide this weekend.

She insisted that failure to beat Lyon in the past is not a factor for her teammates, who she said have grown on the back of last year’s comeback win against Wolfsburg and a tough semifinal against Chelsea this season.

“I think the team sees it as another team, another game,” Bronze said. “We know we are good enough to beat them. Barça have always had enough talent to match Lyon, Lyon probably just had more experience in the past.

“That’s changed a little now, two Champions League [trophies], four finals for this team, a lot of World Cup winners as well. There is a lot more experience of playing big games and big finals now.

“I think the biggest change for me, coming in from the outside, is last year’s final. In last year’s final we were 2-0 down. How many teams are going to turn that around in a final with all the pressure?

“To turn it around shows a completely different side of Barça, one that was maybe missing in previous years, [showing] that we can come from behind in games.

“We lost against Chelsea this year [in the semifinal first leg] and came back. That is something different that Barça have now going into a big finals, that experience that we need.”

Barça have already wrapped up a fifth Liga F title this season, won the the Copa de la Reina last weekend after beating Real Sociedad 8-0 in the final and clinched the Spanish Supercopa in January.

Victory against Lyon would seal a quadruple for the first-ever time in the club’s history and send coach Jonatan Giráldez off to his new job with NWSL Washington Spirit side with 10 trophies from a possible 12 during his three seasons in charge.

“We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is,” Guijarro said.

“It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible.”