Five successive European titles. It’s a feat that has only been achieved once by Real Madrid in the 1950, when Alfredo Di Stefano was the star in Spain. That is, until now.
On Sunday, Lyon wrote their names into history, again, by winning their fifth Women’s Champions League title in a row, beating Wolfsburg 3-1 in Bilbao.
Sunday’s victory saw England right-back Lucy Bronze win her third straight European crown with the French club. France’s Eugenie le Sommer opened the scoring and Japan’s Saki Kumagai lashed in to put Lyon 2-0 up at half-time.
Alexandra Popp headed in for Wolfsburg after the break but Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir’s late third sealed it. England striker Taylor went close to adding a fourth for the dominant French side in second-half stoppage time but was denied by a good low save from Wolfsburg keeper Friederike Abt.
In the end, the match finally brought the extended 2019/20 European season to an end for both men’s and women’s football. But, undoubtedly, it’ll be a night to remember for the unstoppable Lyonesses (pun intended).
Every time this team steps on a pitch, they seem to set new records. No one has played in more semi-finals, more finals, or won more UWCL titles in history than them, a record they have now extended from six to seven. No club has won more matches in the competition. No club has won more games in the competition. No club has scored more goals in the competition.
This period of dominance that Lyon are enjoying will go down in history as one of the greatest eras for not just a football team, but a team in any sport, and many of the players involved over the last five years will go down as some of the greatest to play the game.
Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, forward Eugenie Le Sommer, centre-back Wendie Renard and winger Amel Majri have now won seven Champions League titles. Surprisingly, this time, the final was won without the Champions League’s all-time top goalscorer, Ada Hegerberg, on the pitch. It was won without Amandine Henry too, their midfield general only fit enough for the bench.
Nikita Parris was suspended, but has come in to do a fantastic job in Hegerberg’s absence since her awful ACL injury. In defence, Sakina Karchaoui did a stellar job on the left in the last two games, only making her club debut in the semi-finals following a summer move from Montpellier.
Meanwhile, Lucy Bronze, one of the best players in the world, is set to move on this summer, but, clearly, she will be efficiently replaced, as is the Lyon way. When their current superstars, the likes of Renard and Henry, finally retire, they too will be.
Just like Bayern Munich in the men’s game, they will sign players with raw talent, great potential and the desire to work hard, who will go on to develop into world-beaters at the club. As long as that environment remains, it will continue to be nigh-on impossible to stop this Lyon team from continue to set records, and then break them. So, whoever does manage to stop their dominance will be a very, very special team.