The coach that picked up the Barça expedition to the Budapest airport could not express it with more force. "The end is only the beginning" was the motto that was read in the chassis of the vehicle. A clairvoyant message, ambitious, motivating. Barça will play their first Champions League final today (18:00, Gol / BarçaTV), a milestone that already marks a point and followed in the growth of the section. That the rivals, the Olympique de Lyon, are the champions of the last three editions does nothing but enlarge the hopes of making it big in Groupama Arena.
The messages that are sent these last hours speak of dreams, to imagine that it is possible, to understand that not only to arrive to Budapest has been a success. "Do not play for the finals, play to make history" was the motto that Nike, through the figure of Alexia Putellas, used the semifinals, and now they are the colors blaugranes and the flag projected in the face of Marta Torrejón Those looking for the same visual impact. This is the idea of the team facing the game: being more Barça than ever to try to have some option.
In the streets of Budapest it is hard to find that today there is a Champions League final. The stadium is hidden between buildings and it barely looks at the purple lining that UEFA has conceived. Political campaign ads and concert posters are the only ones that wallow some facades, but no sign of party posters. In front of the hotel, the former German player Celia Sasic walked calmly, and since Thursday, also former Barça members, with Laura Ràfols and Xavi Llorens, they are on the brink of the Danube.
The expectation of this historical end has not seduced the tourists but it has mobilized the roots of Catalan women's football. One of the first planes of yesterday was filled by players from the Barça base and other soccer players from the main teams in the country. And many journalists, who yesterday tried to find out how Lluís Cortés will replace the loss of Kheira Hamraoui, kicked back to Bayern Munich. There are, above all, two options. The first is to include Aitana Bonmatí in the lineup, so that Vicky Losada would be placed midfielder. The second one takes off more things: Brazil's Andressa Alves enters the right-hand side and Mariona Caldentey passes in the middle. This combination would re-formulate one of the weapons to wound the Olympique de Lyon, with the attacker Felanitx going from the inside to the extreme. Before Bayern, each reception of the Balearic player gave oxygen to the team. In any case, Andressa's entry could add a point of aggression without a ball and a character in the duels. The alternative of Aitana Bonmatí is also interesting, but if it is assumed that the beginning of Lyon, usually fast and intimidating, can lead to a first legeless stretch, it would be logical to think that Cortés would reserve it for the second half. Lyon also has some dilemma in its eleven: Reynald Pedros, who yesterday praised Barça very much, can opt for Fishlock in the middle (and, therefore, Marozsán midfielder and Le Sommer to the left) or bet on a double left lateral, with Bacha and Majri (so that Maroszán would go down to accompany Henry to the pivot and Le Sommer would make a connection behind Hegerberg). Cascarino seems indisputable, even though he has dragged annoyances.
It is not the end of the principles just because of what can be derived from this European experience, or because Barça will look to resemble their football values to defeat the Olympique Lyon. It is also because managing well the beginning will be more essential than in any other scenario. Resisting the first engagement of the French is key. Frighten with a first notice as well. And to dream, why not, that today the sweetest page of the history of this club is written.
. (tagsToTranslate) Barça (t) Guardiola (t) match (t) football (t) first division (t) league BBVA (t) minority sports (t) female sport (t) athlete (t) Olympic Games