The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

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Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

Arsenal Women's Football Club (Arsenal WFC) announced early Tuesday that they will play 11 matches at Emirates next season, making the North London Premiere League hub their official home.  

A total of eight Barclays Women's Super League (WSL) games are to be played inside Emirates, as well as three UWCL fixtures, should the team qualify for the Champions League. And if they reach the Champions League knockout rounds, those games would also be also played at Emirates.

The team’s other regular season matches — including domestic cup games — will be played at Meadow Park, the team’s longstanding home pitch in Borehamwood. 

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The news follows Monday’s announcement that the club would part ways with star striker Vivianne Miedema at the end of the 2023/24 season.

"There’s great passion for our women’s team right across our club," said Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar in a statement. "We are one club, with a vision to win major trophies across our men’s and women’s teams. This move supports this ambition and we can’t wait to continue this amazing journey with our supporters." 

"The next step in our journey is to make Emirates Stadium our main home for Arsenal women," AFC chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said. "We're looking forward to giving more supporters the chance to watch our women's team play. This is part of a collective drive across the club to take the women's game forward and support sustainable growth of the game so it can thrive in the long term."

This past season, Arsenal WFC hosted six WSL matches at Emirates, drawing an average crowd of 52,029 ticket-holders, selling out the stadium twice, and setting three WSL attendance records along the way. They currently hold the domestic attendance record for a WSL game, with 60,160 fans turning out to see the home side defeat Manchester United in February

The WSL's previous attendance record was also held by Arsenal, with their December win over Chelsea drawing 59,042 fans. 

"To everyone who has followed us so far, thank you. You have played a key part in our progress and growth, helping us write this story," said head coach Jonas Eidevall. "Next season, Emirates Stadium becomes our main home and we're all excited to play in front of bigger crowds every week. We can’t wait to see you all there."

U.S. women’s national team star and captain Lindsey Horan was sent off on Thursday in Lyon’s Champions League matchup against Brann, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

After colliding with Brann’s Karoline Haugland, Horan got into it with Haugland and the referee. Initially, the referee had shown a yellow card to Horan, but it was subsequently upgraded to a red card. The removal of Horan forced Lyon down to 10 players and Brann equalized in stoppage time to secure a point.

Lyon held a 2-0 lead at one point in the match and were up 2-1 at the time of Horan’s red card. The draw ended Lyon’s stellar start to the season, in which they won 15 consecutive games.

Following the match, Lyon manager Sonia Bompastor said the referee had misunderstood the situation, and who Horan was yelling at.

“[Horan] is fouled from behind, she is a player who suffers a lot of fouls, she has already had injuries due to these tackles from behind, she was scared,” Bompastor told reporters. “She said ‘my f—ing knee’ in English. The referee understood that she was talking to her, she thought Lindsay had insulted her.”

The game marked Horan’s first start for Lyon in just over three weeks. She had missed some time due to an ankle sprain, according to the club.

Christen Press believes that the NWSL is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world.

On the latest episode of The RE-CAP Show, Press discusses the action in the NWSL Championship with co-host Tobin Heath. Gotham FC held off OL Reign 2-1 on Nov. 11 to win their first championship and send Ali Krieger off into retirement on a high note.

“I asked for this match to showcase the NWSL at its best,” said Press, a two-time World Cup champion with the U.S. women’s national team. “And say what you will about the NWSL, the style of play, transition, yada yada — I think it’s the most entertaining league in the world.

“It’s open, it’s energetic, and there’s tons of goals, and I think we got the NWSL at its best during this final match.”

This comes as debate has gone on about which is better: European leagues or the NWSL. Gotham FC forward and World Cup champion Esther González of Spain praised the NWSL for its level of play.

“One of the biggest differences with the Spanish League, which is a great league, is that here all the games, absolutely all of them, are like a Champions League game, at the highest level,” she said after the championship game. “In Spain, there are some games that you can win four or five to zero, that your physical wear and tear is normal, that you have everything under control.

“Here, every game is like playing against Barça, which is the best team in the Spanish League: Your level has to be the maximum, your physical demand is the maximum, and that happens weekend after weekend.”

But others, like USWNT star Lindsey Horan, have opted for Europe and the Champions League. USWNT teammates Mia Fishel and Catarina Macario are also overseas, playing for Chelsea, whose coach Emma Hayes was just announced as the next manager of the USWNT.

And Horan would like to see more USWNT players head overseas to get acquainted with different styles of play.

“I’ve heard of [American] players wanting to [move to Europe],” Horan told Pro Soccer Wire. “Obviously, it’s comfortable in the NWSL and I won’t take anything away from the league, but for me, [playing abroad] has always been a growing point in my career. When I went to PSG, it was massive for me and then coming back to Lyon was even a bigger jump. I get to play with some of the best international players in the world.”

“It’s not a knock on the NWSL, but you’re just not going and playing in the Champions League,” she continued. “That’s something that I missed out on when I was at Portland because it’s just insane.”

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is upset with the officiating in her club’s 2-2 draw against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Controversial decisions “robbed” the English club from a win in its first match of the Champions League group stage, Hayes said. In the second half, two key decisions went against the Blues, with a questionable penalty awarded to Madrid in the 78th minute and a would-be last-minute winner for Chelsea ruled offside.

“I think we’ve been robbed of what should have been a 3-1 game,” said Hayes, who has been named head coach of the U.S. women’s national team.

Video assistant referee (VAR) review was not available. After the match, UEFA released a statement on VAR is being rolled out gradually across its competitions, though it did not provide any timeline for when it might come to the Women’s Champions League group stage.

“UEFA already plans to implement VAR at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals next year and will continuously evaluate the possibility to implement VAR in competitions or stages of competitions where it hasn’t been so far,” the statement read.

In the fifth and final minute of stoppage time of Wednesday’s draw, Chelsea scored on a close-range goal from Niamh Charles. But the flag was raised for offside, to the confusion of coaches and players alike. While Kerr was in an offside position, it was not in a way that impacted play, Hayes said.

“It’s embarrassing,” Hayes said. “I had to check because Niamh’s onside, but the reason the goal was ruled offside was because Sam [Kerr] was interfering with the goalkeeper.

“[Kerr is] about seven yards away from the goalkeeper, she’s nowhere near her, so I cannot understand the decision whatsoever.”

Following the draw, other players called out the lack of VAR, which isn’t set to be used in Champions League competition until the knockout rounds.

“I think it has to be used in the Champions League from minute one when the group stage starts,” Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen said Thursday. “Every year we are doing things to improve [the game], but it’s clear that it should be utilised in the group phase as well as the knockouts.

“Like [this week], the games are intense, there are a lot of decisive situations and, at the end of the day, I think everyone just wants games to end with the result as it should end. If we can have help, that helps.”

Her teammate Salma Paralluelo echoed the calls for VAR.

“At the end of the day, VAR is a tool that makes things as fair as possible on the pitch because of the support it provides,” Paralluelo said. “Not having it can lead to wrong decisions. We need it both in the league and in the Champions League [group phase]. I think it is super necessary.”

Lindsey Horan is excited about the investment Michele Kang could bring to Olympique Lyonnais.

Kang, who already owns the NWSL’s Washington Spirit, is set to become the majority owner of the Lyon women’s team. In an interview with Pro Soccer Wire, Horan said that she’s met Kang “many times” and called her “amazing.”

“And I think her aspirations and the things that she’s doing in the world are insane,” the Lyon midfielder said. “She’s not just saying things to say them, or to hope that it could happen, she’s going and making them happen. What she’ll do with Lyon is going to be absolutely incredible.”

As she prepares to take control of the club, Kang has been vocal about her goals, which include building the women’s team its own training center. Kang also is exploring the possibility of repurposing a local rugby venue as the team’s home stadium.

Not many women’s teams have their own training facilities or their own stadiums. The NWSL’s Kansas City Current opened their own training complex in 2022, and they are in the process of building the first women’s soccer-specific stadium.

“Our team isn’t just attached to the men’s team,” Horan told Pro Soccer Wire. “Our team is in itself its own. To see some of these teams around the world now having their own training facilities, having their own stadiums — that’s what they deserve.

“We women work just as hard and we’re professionals just as much as the men. So at least we should have our own training facility. We should have all access to the things that we need, that I’m pretty sure most men’s clubs get, and to have our own stadium would be incredible as well.”

Lyon is set to kick off the UEFA Champions League group stage at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. The six-match group stage runs through the end of January, with 16 teams divided into four groups. Lyon is in Group B with Austria’s St. Pölten, Norway’s SK Brann and the Czech Republic’s SK Slavia Prague.

Esther González always dreamt of playing in the United States. Now, she’s not only made that dream come true, but she’s also a NWSL champion.

González signed with Gotham FC after winning the 2023 World Cup with Spain. And since then, the 30-year-old forward has helped the team to its first NWSL championship, scoring the title-winning goal on a header in Saturday’s final.

She predicted the goal to Spanish outlet AS ahead of the championship game.

“Yes always,” she said in Spanish when asked if she saw herself scoring in the final. “In my head, I only want to score goals, whatever the match, in training. Of course I see myself scoring in the final. I know I’m going to have a chance, I just have to make it.”

González has settled in well to the NWSL, becoming just the second player since 2015 to score a brace in one of her first two league appearances.

She also knows that she is in a league “where I can bring out my maximum potential,” and following the game she told Marta Griñan of AS that the level of competition in the NWSL is much higher than in La Liga.

“One of the biggest differences with the Spanish league, which is a great league, is that here (in the NWSL) all the games, absolutely all of them, are like a Champions League game at the highest level,” she said. “In Spain, there are some games that you can win four or five to zero, that your physical wear and tear is normal, that you have everything under control.

“Here every game is like playing against Barça, which is the best team in the Spanish League: Your level has to be the maximum, your physical demand is the maximum, and that happens weekend after weekend.”

After conceding two goals in the first half of Saturday’s Women’s Champions League final, Barcelona staged a massive comeback in the second half to defeat VfL Wolfsburg, 3-2, and claim its second Champions League title in three years.

Wolfsburg entered Saturday’s match at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, Netherlands, as the clear underdog, but the German team didn’t look it once the whistle sounded. In the third minute, Ewa Pajor picked the ball off the foot of Barcelona’s Lucy Bronze, blasting it past goalkeeper Sandra Paños. Wolfsburg then made it 2-0 in the 37th minute with a goal from Alexandra Popp.

The first half had many Barcelona fans thinking back to last year’s Champions League final, when their team conceded three goals to Lyon in the first 33 minutes of the match and wasn’t able to turn things around.

But Barcelona extinguished those comparisons as soon as the second half began. Patri Guijarro scored two goals in two minutes and Fridolina Rolfo added the game-winner in the 70th minute. (Video highlights are embedded below.)

Saturday also saw yet another women’s soccer attendance record broken. With 33,147 fans, it was the best attended women’s soccer match ever in the Netherlands.

Arsenal’s Champions League run ended in injury and heartbreak in Monday’s 3-2 semifinal loss to Wolfsburg.

The Gunners, who already have lost three players to ACL tears this season, saw defender Laura Wienroither stretchered off late in the second half with an apparent knee injury. And despite the raucous crowd of 60,063 at Emirates Stadium, a record for a Champions League match in England, they conceded the winning goal in the 119th minute of extra time.

Wolfsburg clinched the match and the 5-4 aggregate win on a cross off the foot of Pauline Bremer. The club also received a boost from the return of Alexandra Popp, who missed the first leg of the semifinal with a calf injury but scored off a header in the second leg.

Injury luck, though, has not been on Arsenal’s side this season. Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema and Leah Williamson all have suffered ACL tears this season. Team captain Kim Little sustained a season-ending hamstring injury in the Champions League quarterfinal, and Caitlin Foord injured her hamstring earlier in April.

Wienroither added her own name to the growing injury list Monday. She entered the match in the 64th minute and exited 18 minutes later on a stretcher.

The loss ends Arsenal’s bid for the Champions League trophy, but the club remains in the running for the Women’s Super League title. With 38 points, the Gunners sit nine points back of first-place Manchester United with five matches left to play.

Arsenal have made history once again, selling out Emirates Stadium for the first time in their history.

Monday’s Champions League semifinal will not be the first time the women’s team has played at Emirates this season, with the club having made a vow to play at least six matches at the venue this season. But it is the first time Arsenal have sold all of the 60,704 available tickets.

And fans are in for an exciting match, with the club playing the second leg of its Champions League semifinal against VfL Wolfsburg. The two teams are tied 2-2 after the first leg.

“‘Exciting’ doesn’t do it justice,” Arsenal and England defender Lotte Wubben-Moy said when asked about the sellout. “A lot of hard work has gone into this. When you look at the future sustainability in the game for Arsenal Women as a club that’s what’s most exciting for me. I hope every Gooner there will be screaming their hearts out.”

Of course, they’ve sold many seats in the stadium before, having attracted a Women’s Super League record crowd of 47,367 for the north London derby in September when they played Tottenham Hotspur.

Arsenal have bought into marketing the women’s games, with the marketing team remaining as one rather than having a separate team for the women’s side. That has helped bolster a trend of increasing attendance in the WSL in the wake of England’s Euros win.

It’s a step in the right direction for the club. Chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has said that he hopes to see the women’s team play all their matches at Emirates down the road. And with the club now selling out the stadium, that seems more and more likely.

“I don’t see this as an end-point for it. For me this has always been the natural progression that we were going to get here [selling out], whether it was this game or not,” manager Jonas Eidevall said. “I hope when we look back on the day tomorrow, in history, that we can see that was a starting point — to make this a regular occurrence.”