On Tuesday night, Barcelona crushed Arsenal 4-1 to begin their Women’s Champions League title defense in style. Arsenal had been on a roll under new manager Jonas Eidevall this season, winning nine games in a row heading into Wednesday night’s match.
Despite this, they were beaten by the European Champions, who played brilliant football throughout and may easily have scored more goals than the tally indicates. On the half-hour mark, Mariona Caldentey’s rebounding finish put the Catalan side ahead 1-0, then Alexia Putellas headed former Arsenal star Asisat Oshoala’s cutback home shortly before half-time.
After the restart, Oshoala added a third before Frida Maanum restored the away side’s pride. Lieke Martens of the Netherlands then made it four to complete an overwhelming victory.
Many people on social media praised Barcelona’s domination, with some even speculating that the women’s team may win the men’s club, which is currently struggling in La Liga. But where does Barcelona stand among the top women’s football teams of all time? Let’s check out the list of our top ten teams over the years to see how they stack up:
The Netherlands win in the 2017 UEFA European Women’s Championship was remarkable, not least because it put an end to Germany’s seemingly unstoppable reign.
The tournament hosts won every game, including a 4-2 triumph against Denmark in the final, under the direction of Sarina Wiegman, who is now in charge of the Lionesses. Vivianne Miedema and Danielle van de Donk were among the team’s superstars, while Barcelona striker Lieke Martens made her mark on the world stage and was named Player of the Tournament.
Chelsea: 2020- Present
Chelsea was upset in the final of the Women’s Champions League by Barcelona last year, but Emma Hayes’ side is still in contention for a domestic treble if they win the FA Cup.
The Blues only lost one game in the Women’s Super League last season, and they won the FA WSL Cup with a 6-0 victory over Bristol City. Hayes’ team also has one of the strongest offences in the world, with Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, and Pernille Harder all ranking among the best players on the planet.
Bayern Munich may be the current champions of German women’s football, but Wolfsburg reigned supreme for much of the preceding decade.
In the last ten years, the team has won six Frauen-Bundesliga titles, with their most successful season coming in 2012-13, when they won the league, the domestic cup, and the Champions League. Back then, the team was stocked with German internationals, including Alexandra Popp, the current captain of the national team.
Umeå IK: 2003-2004
The Swedish side was one of the most successful clubs in the world in the early 2000s, winning seven Swedish championships between 2000 and 2008.
They also won the Women’s Champions League twice, back-to-back, in 2003 and 2004 –– reaching the final on three other occasions. Several Swedish stars played for the club, but the most notable former player is Brazilian icon Marta, who scored 111 goals in just 103 games for the club.
Sadly, the club’s fortunes have faltered and the team was relegated to the second tier of women’s football in Sweden last year.
Eintracht Frankfurt, another tremendously successful German club, dominated both the domestic and European scene in the early 2000s.
The team is second on the all-time list with four Champions League titles, trailing only Lyon. Frankfurt won the league, cup, and European triple for the first and only time in club history in the 2001-02 season.
Upfront, they were led by the formidable German Birgit Prinz. In her career, the German striker has won three FIFA World Player of the Year awards and scored over 400 goals for her club and country.
Although some Gunners believe this year’s squad is one of the best in recent memory, the 2006-07 squad remains the most famous.
After dominating the English domestic league for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, this was the team’s first European title. The final was split into two legs back then, and Arsenal won 1-0 on aggregate courtesy to a stoppage-time winner from Alex Scott in the first game.
Kelly Smith, Karen Carney, and Rachel Yankey were among the other well-known Lionesses in the squad.
The German women’s national team is one of the most successful in international history, having won the World Cup in both women’s and men’s competitions.
They won eight of the twelve European Championships and Olympic gold in 2016, but their most successful period was from 2001 to 2009, when they won three Euros in a row and back-to-back World Cups.
The aforementioned Fritz was instrumental in this accomplishment, scoring 128 goals in 214 appearances, while Kerstin Stegemann and Ariane Hingst were also constants during this era.
Barcelona: 2020 – Present
There aren’t enough superlatives to characterize Barcelona’s current performance. The team has been the most successful in Spanish history for a long time, but they are now the greatest in the world.
Last season, the team won the Champions League as well as the Primera División, winning 33 of their 34 games, scoring 167 goals, and conceding only 15. Their football style is also unlike any other women’s team that has ever existed. The relentless press, paired with their fluid, possession-based, attacking style, evokes memories of Pep Guardiola’s legendary men’s team from the late 2000s.
They need to add more European silverware to their trophy cabinet to become the best team in women’s football history, but they are unquestionably favorites to retain their title this year.
Olympique Lyonnais is the most successful team in European history and is widely recognized as the best club in the history of women’s football.
In total, the squad has won seven Champions League titles, five of which came in a row between 2015 and 2020. Between 2007 and 2020, they also won 14 consecutive domestic league titles. Lyon’s strategy has been hailed as a model for the economic and cultural development of women’s football.
The team did not win any trophies last season, but they are currently in first place in the French League, having won five of their last five games.
US Women’s National Team: 2015-2019
The United States has won four Women’s World Cups and is the most successful team in international women’s football. Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd were all key players in these victories, which occurred back-to-back in 2015 and 2019.
In addition to its international squad, the United States has the world’s most prestigious domestic competition, the National Women’s Super League. It attracts the top players from all around the world regularly, and all of the teams are fiercely competitive.