Women's Champions League: Two French finalists 'no coincidence', says Lyon captain

Lyon
Lyon became European champions for a third time in 2015-16

Two French teams contesting this season's Women's Champions League final is "no coincidence", says France and Lyon captain Wendie Renard.

Holders Lyon will face Paris St-Germain in Thursday's final in Cardiff, as two clubs from the same country meet in the final for the first time since the competition was rebranded in 2009.

French champions Lyon are in the final for the sixth time in eight years.

"It shows French football has evolved," said 26-year-old centre-back Renard.

"It will be a high-level match. I've been at this club for 11 years and I've seen progress. We've got the titles to prove it."

Thursday's match at Wales' Cardiff City Stadium kicks off at 19:45 BST.

Lyon, who have won 11 consecutive French titles, are attempting to win their fourth Champions League title, while PSG are bidding for their first.

The French giants have invested significantly in their women's teams in recent years, attracting world-class internationals, including United States star Alex Morgan and the 2017 BBC Women's Footballer of the Year, Norway's Ada Hegerberg.

'Don't just delegate women's football to assistants'

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BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2017 Ada Hegerberg reacts to winning the award

Despite French teams dominating the Champions League this season, PSG defender Laura Georges says the French league is not necessarily the best in the world.

The France international, a title winner with Lyon, told BBC World Service: "I still put pressure on the clubs to do much, much better."

"We need to have presidents who are more involved in women's football, not just delegate women's football to some 'assistant president'.

"They have to be taking care of their club like they are taking care of their men's club."

But Hegerberg says such criticism cannot be aimed at Lyon's Jean-Michel Aulas.

She said: "Lyon is a fantastic club and a special mention has to go to our president, who is always working for our women's team.

"He comes to every away game I think and, without him, we wouldn't have reached success. Year on year he tries to develop the team and think that's an important factor behind our success.

"I think the women's game is always growing, it's taken huge steps in 10 years and it's up to us to see it developing. It's at a good level but it is up to us to maintain that quality to be good idols for future generations."

Organisers of Thursday's final are hoping for a crowd of 20,000 in Wales, with 18,000 tickets sold by Wednesday night.

No British side has reached the final since Arsenal won the old Uefa Cup in 2007, while a German women's club has been crowned European champions nine times since 2002.

Lyon beat 2016 English champions Manchester City to reach this year's final, while PSG overcame Barcelona in the last four.

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