Five star Lyon women match Real Madrid Champions League achievement
Olympique Lyonnais feminin replicated Real Madrid’s winning spree between 1956 and 1960 when the competition was still called the European Cup.
Lyon women won the Women’s Champions League [UWCL] for the 5th season in a row, beating Wolfsburg 3-1 at Spain’s Anoeta Stadium. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Consider the records that the French giants accumulated in the competition.
No club has won more matches than them in the competition. Nobody has scored more goals than them. There’s no team that reached the last 4, finals or won the UWCL title more than the seven times that Lyon has.
France midfielder Eugenie Le Sommer had given OL the lead before Japan star Saki Kumagai made it 2-0 just before half time. Wolfsburg’s Alexandra Popp pulled a goal back but Lyon’s Icelandic midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, formerly of Wolfsburg, scored late to settle matters.
Key Players Missing
Coming into the final, Lyon had several of their first team regulars missing. Ada Hegerberg, the all-time leading Champions League goalscorer, was out injured. She’d scored a hat-trick against FC Barcelona women in last season’s UWCL final. Key midfielder Amandine Henry was also missing from the starting line-up. Forward Nikita Parris also sat out, after being shown a red card against PSG Feminine in the semi-final.
Lucy Bronze, the English full-back suggested that people had written her team off before the final. Bronze, UEFA’s best women’s player of the year 2018-19 said, “People said it was the best time to play us because we were missing so many players. But we had almost finished the game at half-time. We’ve definitely got the strongest squad in the world.”
Captain Wendie Renard, whose goal against PSG Feminine denied Jordyn Huitema of a chance to play the UWCL final wants her team to be relentless. “Now we need to win a sixth in a row to beat Madrid’s record.” 30 year old Renard, 31 year old Le Sommer and 33 year old goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi have featured in all seven final wins.
The Battle of Unbeaten Streaks
Lyon extended their winning run to 65 games across all competitions that goes back two years. They cut Wolfsburg’s 40 match unbeaten streak and refused them a chance to add to winning the German domestic double.
But there seems to be no team stopping Lyon, who won a historic treble in the 2019-20 season.
They edged PSG Feminine to win their 14th league crown and then snuffed out their challenge in the French Cup final. They beat the Parisians again in the semi-finals on 26th August. The win even caught the attention of French President Emmanuel Macron, who tweeted his congratulations.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas continues to be vindicated for consistently investing in a women’s team. He’s astutely split revenue between the women and men – who made it to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Sadly, the club will only receive € 450,000 as prize money for winning the Champions League – a speck when compared to the men’s competition.”We have had a squad for a number of years and a president who believes in this, who has given us money and resources to build a top level side,” captain Wendie Renard said before the final.
“I can’t win trophies on my own. I win silverware because there are players in the squad that have been at the top for so long.”
Jean-Luc Vasseur’s side are such a well-oiled unit, that every squad member knows what they have to do when on the pitch.
As long as an ecosystem that breeds excellence remains, Lyon’s juggernaut will likely see no stopping.