|Date: Sunday, 16 May Kick-off: 20:00 BST Venue: Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden BBC coverage: Live text coverage on the BBC Sport website, commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live|
Barcelona face Chelsea on Sunday to decide this season’s Women’s Champions League winners.
Here is everything you need to know about Chelsea’s opponents in Gothenburg, including Pep Guardiola, the analyst turned hero, and a teenager’s deal with her parents.
Barca through and through
Of 25 players on Barcelona’s roster, just five are not Spanish and from those 20, nine are graduates of the club’s famed La Masia academy.
The Barcelona style of play is instilled throughout this squad with key players drawing influence from the Pep Guardiola era at the Nou Camp, consisting of players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol.
Iniesta referred to women’s captain captain Alexia Putellas as “a representation of Barca”, and after coming through the ranks alongside Aitana Bonmati and Patri Guijarro, the trio have learned to display an unmatched chemistry in the midfield.
Putellas, a Barcelona fan since she was young, became the first female player to score in the Nou Camp for the club in January against Espanyol.
And defender Jana Fernandez and striker Bruna Vilamala have come a long way from La Masia youngsters to winning their first league title with the first team.
For a lot of these Barcelona players, it’s not only about succeeding on the biggest stage but giving their beloved club the greatest trophy in club football.
Barca’s women’s stadium is named after the leading figure of the club’s philosophy: Johan Cruyff, the club’s legendary ex-player and manager.
And the side has established that same philosophy of passing football, inspired by Cruyff and Guardiola.
“I was always a Barca fan, but I became a fanatic in the Guardiola era,” said Putellas.
“That football was impressive and the desire to win everything, that’s how they achieved everything they did.”
It’s worth noting that this Barcelona side averages 60% possession and has scored 128 goals in 26 league matches 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 shortly after.
In 2019, he took over from Fran Sanchez as head coach and led the team to their first Champions League final, though it ended in a disappointing 4-1 defeat by Lyon.
The following year, Cortes signed Caroline Graham Hansen, brought Jennifer Hermoso back to the club and won Barcelona their first league title in four years.
Since that final disappointment two years ago, Cortes and Barcelona have been building to this moment.
“We didn’t know what the Champions League final was like,” said Cortes.
“We had yet to experience the build-up, the media, the pre-match show and the match itself. It was all new.
“For them [Lyon] it was another day in the office, so they were already ahead going into the game.”
Now, Barcelona have already experienced a final and Cortes’ side are here to win it this time around.
A deal with the parents
Growing up in Nigeria, being a professional women’s footballer was unheard of to Asisat Oshoala’s family, almost frowned upon, but the striker defied the odds and her parents.
After having to play football on the streets in secret, it was not until she got the golden boot in the 2014 Under-20 World Cup that her parents accepted her career as a footballer.
Oshoala came to an agreement with her parents; if she didn’t have success in football by 20, she would have to quit and study law.
A successful start to her career in Nigeria resulted in Matt Beard brining Oshoala to Liverpool in 2015, the same year in which she was voted the BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year.
Oshoala has opened her own football foundation in Lagos, Nigeria, available only to girls, allowing them to dream of playing professionally and providing them with a path to do so.
“I know I have a responsibility,” said Oshoala.
“After football I will dedicate all my time to help girls in Africa, so they don’t go through the difficulties that I did.”
Endless threats for Spanish side
With Barca’s depth of talent, it is difficult to know where to start when highlighting players to watch.
Forward Hermoso is in the race for the Champions League golden boot, 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 across all competition and recently became Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Putellas, one of many leaders in the side, has managed 11 goals and four assists in the league, proving she can do it all.
Norwegian winger Graham Hansen is playing outstanding football, with seven goals and 12 assists this season, and will be going up against former Wolfsburg team-mate, Pernille Harder in this final.
While on the left wing, Cortes has either Lieke Martens or Mariona Caldentey to pick from, whether it be from the start or from the bench, the Chelsea full-backs are in for a challenge to contain Barca’s wide threat.