Having averaged nearly five goals per game, the Rhone Valley outfit are favourites to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League on Thursday
There’s been no team as dominant in European football this season as Olympique Lyonnais’ women.
The numbers the ladies from the Rhone Valley have put up this season are simply astonishing. They’ve won 21 of 22 league games and scored 103 goals – an average of nearly five per match – and conceded only six. Come the end of the campaign, they boasted a goal difference of +97 and won France’s top division by a comfortable eight points.
Gerard Precheur’s side were absolutely ruthless in their approach. On five occasions, they scored at least eight goals, managing nine three times – including one astonishing match against a Guingamp outfit that finished in the top half of the standings and conceded only 27 goals in their other 21 fixtures.
The only defeat that Lyon suffered domestically this term came against Paris Saint-Germain, who finished third in the league, reached the Coupe de France final and now stand between OL and a second successive Women’s Champions League title.
President Jean-Michel Aulas has built a star-studded side that offers quality throughout the whole team.
Lyon have scoured the world for the best female players, and to that end have signed USA international star Alex Morgan, scorer of 12 goals in 15 outings and fit for the final after shaking off a hamstring problem.
It is, however, Ada Hegerberg, the 21-year-old Norwegian sensation, who is the current golden girl – not just of OL, but the women’s game overall.
Having been prised away from Potsdam in 2014, she has exploded to prominence since moving to France, tallying 34 goals in her first season. A year later, 54 followed in only 35 games – figures that make even Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi envious.
Hegerberg was voted UEFA’s Best Women’s Player in Europe in 2016 and even claimed Norway’s Golden Ball, beating off male competition to claim the prize.
But Lyon’s success story is by no means one built solely around foreign talent. France women’s coach Olivier Echouafni has called no fewer than 10 players from OL into his squad for Euro 2017, and these ladies should form the core of his defence and midfield.
Further forward, meanwhile, the vastly experienced Elodie Thomis and Eugenie Le Sommer, will vie for starting spots with prolific PSG attacker Marie-Laure Delie.
“We’ve worked all year for this, we want to be rewarded,” Lyon and France captain Wendie Renard told the press on Tuesday. “We will have to be intelligent, calm and respond to their physical challenge. It will be important to play our game because we have quality. We’ll never tire of winning titles.”
An incredible season deserves and incredible ending, and for this thrilling Lyon team, that means securing an unprecedented fifth Champions League title.