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Lyon-Wolfsburg: a Champions League final between giants 

In search of a seventh continental coronation, the Lyonnaises will meet their most serious rivals this Sunday in the final. For a dream poster.

Dream poster Sunday in the final of the Women’s Champions League. Two “giants” of European football, Olympique Lyonnais and Les Louves de Wolfsburg, who share eight of the last nine titles, will compete for the trophy this Sunday (8 p.m., W9 and Canal +) in San Sebastián. In this new episode of the “most exciting rivalry” of the decade, the Lyonnaises dream of a seventh continental coronation, the fifth in a row. The Louves will try to regain a cup they have lifted twice in the decade, in 2013 and 2014.

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This final bouquet of Final 8 in the Spanish Basque Country pits two rivals with a fairly similar profile. “It will go from one goal to another”, there will be “a lot of races and physical commitment”, anticipates with AFP the neo-Lyonnaise Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, recruited in early July from .. Wolfsburg. “The mentality of both teams is very strong. Both teams will leave everything on the pitch. I think you’ll see a lot of passion, a really physical game, ”describes the 29-year-old Icelandic midfielder. The confrontation is nothing new in the Champions League final, quite the contrary. Of the three previous top duels, Les Louves won the first round in 2013, before a double revenge for Les Fenottes in 2016 and 2018.

“On a European scale, it’s the most exciting rivalry of recent years, so I think it offers a lot of suspense.”

Nadine kessler

“On a European scale it’s the most exciting rivalry in recent years, so I think it offers a lot of suspense. It’s incredible to have this final for the fourth time in the competition, ”said former Wolfsburg player Nadine Kessler, now head of women’s football at UEFA, to AFP. For the former German international, European champion in 2013 against OL, the French “must be seen as the favorites in the final, but Wolfsburg remains a very difficult team to beat and which has collected experience by beating Lyon in the past ”. The players of Jean-Luc Vasseur know it, the team of Pernille Harder and Alexandra Popp will land on the lawn of Anoeta without complex, despite its semi-final against FC Barcelona (1-0) unconvincing and a bit lucky.

Lyonnaises diminished by absences

The Lyon coach, who arrived last summer on the bench of the reigning quadruple European champions, has to deal with the absence of several executives for his first European Cup final. Griedge Mbock and Ada Hegerberg forfeit before the tournament, was added the injury in the quarter-final of the experienced midfielder Amandine Henry (calf), forfeit in the half against Paris SG (1-0) and very uncertain in the final . English striker Nikita Parris, substitute for Hegerberg, is also suspended after his exclusion against PSG, which further complicates Vasseur’s task. But Lyon has a depth of bench unmatched in Europe and the coach has two solutions of experience with Eugénie Le Sommer, fourth top scorer in history in C1 (46 goals, two points from the podium), and Jodie Taylor, English rookie from OL Reign in the United States.

Behind, the multiple champions of France can also rely on goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi and captain and central defender Wendie Renard, both record holders of finals contested (8) and cups lifted (6). The two internationals hope to fill an already full trophy cabinet a little more, but they know that the prize list is worth nothing, or very little, before a new final. “You have to constantly reinvent yourself. The performance is certainly exceptional, but it is more and more difficult to achieve ”, summarizes the Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, in an interview published on Saturday by L’Equipe. On Sunday, the Lyonnaises will have 90 minutes or more, in the event of extra time or even penalties, to write a new glorious page in their history.

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