STOCKHOLM: Sunday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final will see either Chelsea or Barcelona crowned champions of Europe for the first time, and though the Catalan club are hot favourites, the London side are also on a roll.
Barcelona crushed everyone in their path en route to the Primera Division title, winning all 26 of their league games this season and scoring 128 goals while conceding only five.
Chelsea may not have been as dominant in winning the FA Women’s Super League last week, but having won three trophies this term Emma Hayes’s side are full of confidence as they face the 2019 runners-up in Gothenburg, Sweden.
"Barca is a great team with many amazing players, and our coaching staff has been studying them and can hopefully figure out a way we can beat them, (but ) I think the most important thing is to focus on ourselves, because we’re good enough to win it," Chelsea winger Guro Reiten told Reuters ahead of the biggest game of her club career.
Chelsea have being trying to improve their consistency.
“We’ve been working hard every day on the field to try to improve – and not only this year, the last two and a half years … consistency is the key if you want to improve something,” winger Caroline Graham Hansen told Reuters.
Both Reiten and Hansen made their names in their native Norway before moving abroad, with Hansen playing for Tyreso in Sweden and VfL Wolfsburg in Germany, where she was on the losing side to Olympique Lyonnais in the 2018 final.
Paris St Germain knocked out Lyon, who have won the last five Champions League titles, at the quarter-final stage before being edged out by Barca in the semis, while Chelsea overcame Bayern Munich to book their berth in the title game.
The final will pit Barcelona’s possession-and-passing style against Chelsea’s more direct and physical approach, but the Londoners also have skilful forwards in Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder.
"I expect a good game … they have a fantastic team in general, and hopefully it’s going to be a game where a lot of good football is shown by a lot of good players," Hansen said.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)