Batman and the Joker, Superman and Lex Luthor. Every hero has his villain. There is no protagonist without an antagonist, and the kryptonite of FC Barcelona is Olympique Lyon. No wonder, the French are the absolute queens of modern women’s football. Since the new Champions League format was established in 2009, they have played in 10 of the 14 finals and won no more and no less than eight European trophies.

Its hegemony has been total for more than a decade. They are led by a Lyon legend like Sonia Bompastor, the only one who has managed to win a Champions League as a player and as a coach, all with a French club, and they have players with many finals behind them such as Wendie Renard (10), Ada Hegerberg (7), or Marozsan (7). And despite their record and their stars, they have never had the same recognition as FC Barcelona, ​​with only two titles in their cabinets. 

Women’s football in the last decade did not enjoy the same impact as it does now and the Barcelona crest, as well as its characteristic way of playing, have undoubtedly contributed to the Blaugrana filling many more covers today than its French rival, an aspect that It stings in the Lyon squad and that they have used as a motivator on more than one occasion. And Lyon is no longer that giant that won five consecutive Champions Leagues (between 2016 and 2020), but it has not lost that winning gene that makes it a fearsome rival.

The Blaugrana have faced them four times and have never won. In the 2017-18 season, the Lyon team eliminated Barça in the quarterfinals, after winning both the first leg (2-1) and the second leg (0-1). The other two defeats would sting more: the 2019 and 2022 finals, two turning points for the culés.

Budapest 2019 was the first European final for FC Barcelona, ​​which learned the hard way how far it was from the top. Lyon scored four goals before the break, including a hat trick from Ada Hegerberg in her prime. Barça did not have the slightest chance of competing for the title, they were swept out of the game. But, far from collapsing, they emerged stronger from that defeat. It was the boost they needed to continue growing. They intensified their training and began to build the team that would win its first Champions League in 2021 in Göteborg.

With their first European trophy in their pocket, winning all the individual and collective recognitions and awakening the admiration of the whole world with their colorful football, Barça felt that they had already won before starting in Turin. But he found himself facing an injured Lyon as he was not in the favorite pools and with one blow he brought the Blaugrana to the ground. Once again, they conceded three goals before the break and would not come back. It was the blow of reality necessary to remember that the difficult thing is not to get there, it is to stay at the top.

This Saturday (6pm), in San Mamés, Barça has revenge closer than ever. It is a much more mature team, which has learned from its setbacks. Mentally, their players are much stronger after having experienced adverse scenarios from which they have emerged victorious, such as last year’s final against Wolfsburg, where they came back from 0-2 down at half-time, or turning around the tie against Chelsea in the semi-finals of this year.

Nobody at FC Barcelona wants to talk about taking over the throne, but there is no doubt that the San Mamés final will dictate whether Lyon’s reign is over, whether the Blaugrana put an end to a decade of French hegemony and a new dynasty begins in Europe.