|Date: Sunday May 16 Kick-off: 8:00 p.m. BST Lieu: Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden BBC Coverage: Live text coverage on BBC Sport website, commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live|
Barcelona face Chelsea on Sunday to decide this season’s Women’s Champions League winners.
And although this is the English side’s first appearance in the flagship event, Barca will be looking to go beyond their loss in the 2019 final.
Here’s everything you need to know about Chelsea’s opponents in Gothenburg, including analyst turned hero Pep Guardiola and a teenager’s deal with his parents.
Barca from start to finish
Out of 25 players on Barcelona’s roster, only five are not Spanish and of those 20, nine are graduates of the club’s famous La Masia academy.
Barcelona’s style of play is instilled throughout this squad with key players drawing their influence from the Pep Guardiola era at Camp Nou, made up of players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol.
Iniesta referred to the women captain Alexia Putellas as “a representation of Barça”, and after climbing the ranks alongside Aitana Bonmati and Patri Guijarro, the trio learned to display unparalleled chemistry in midfield.
Putellas, a Barcelona fan since a young age, became the first player to score at Camp Nou for the club in January against Espanyol.
And defender Jana Fernandez and striker Bruna Vilamala have come a long way from the youngsters of La Masia to claim their first league title with the first team.
For many of these Barcelona players, it’s not just about succeeding on the biggest stage, but giving their beloved club the biggest trophy in club football.
Barca’s women’s stadium is named after the centerpiece of the club’s philosophy: Johan Cruyff, the club’s legendary former player and coach.
And the team established that same philosophy of passing football, inspired by Cruyff and Guardiola.
“I have always been a Barca fan, but I became a fanatic in the Guardiola era”, this Putellas.
“This football was awesome and the desire to win it all is how they achieved everything they did. “
It should be noted that this Barcelona side average 60% possession and have scored 128 goals in 26 league appearances this season, conceding five.
From analyst to hero
Manager Lluis Cortes joined Barcelona as a first-team analyst in 2017, he then found himself on the coaching staff soon after.
In 2019, he succeeded Fran Sanchez as head coach and led the team to their first Champions League final, although it ended in a disappointing 4-1 loss to Lyon.
The following year Cortes signed Caroline Graham Hansen, brought Jennifer Hermoso back to the club and won their first league title in four years at Barcelona.
Since that last disappointment two years ago, Cortes and Barcelona have built at this time.
“We didn’t know what the Champions League final looked like,” said Cortes.
“We hadn’t yet experienced the preparation, the media, the pre-game show and the game itself. It was brand new.
” For them [Lyon] it was another day at the office, so they were already ahead of the game. ”
Now Barcelona have already had a final and Cortes’ side are here to win it this time around.
An agreement with the parents
Growing up in Nigeria, being a professional footballer was unknown to the almost disapproved family of Asisat Oshoala, but the forward defied the odds and his parents.
After playing football in the streets in secret, it was only after winning the 2014 Under-20 World Cup golden shoe that her parents accepted her football career.
Oshoala came to an agreement with his parents; if she was unsuccessful in football at 20, she would have to quit and study law.
A successful start to her career in Nigeria led Matt Beard to take Oshoala to Liverpool in 2015, the same year she was voted BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.
Oshoala opened her own football foundation in Lagos, Nigeria, just for girls, allowing them to dream of playing professionally and providing them with a path to do so.
“I know I have a responsibility,” this Oshoala.
“After football, I will devote all my time to helping girls in Africa, so that they do not go through the difficulties that I have encountered. “
Endless threats to the Spanish side
With Barca’s depth of talent, it’s hard to know where to start to highlight which players to watch.
Forward Hermoso is in the race for the Champions League golden shoe, tied at six goals with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby.
Ruthless in front of goal, Hermoso has scored 16 times and registered eight assists this season in all competitions and recently became Spain’s all-time top scorer.
One of the team’s many leaders, Putellas has managed 11 goals and four assists in the league, proving she can do it all.
Norwegian winger Graham Hansen is playing exceptional football, with seven goals and 12 assists this season, and will face former Wolfsburg teammate Pernille Harder in this final.
While on the left wing Cortes has a choice between Lieke Martens or Mariona Caldentey, either from the start or from the bench, Chelsea full-backs are up to the challenge of containing Barca’s large threat.