Sell-out crowd to cheer on Barça Women – favorites to reach Champions League final
The Blaugranes will go into the second leg of their semi-final against Bayern Munich with an advantage on the scoresheet and in the stands
Two tiki-takas away from the Camp Nou, Barça's creaking academy stadium is due to be shut down at the end of this season. And if Barcelona Women can pull off an historic victory in their Champions League semi-final there on Sunday, the club may be able to skimp on the demolition works: their 15,000-strong support will surely raise the roof.
With an exceptional capacity crowd confirmed more than 72 hours before kick-off in their second leg against Bayern Munich – with Barça as little as a goalless draw away from a first appearance in a women's European final – the ground will probably not have played host to a more raucous atmosphere since Sir Elton John performed there in 1992.
The football, featuring the two most free-scoring teams in the competition, will be equally flamboyant. A single away goal in the second half from French winger Kheira Hamraoui last weekend was significant, since it will force the Bavarians onto the offensive in search of an equalizer and leave Barça with room to counter attack.
The visitors could have to score several times, in fact, as Lluís Cortés' Catalans have scored 11 goals without reply in home knockout games, flattening Kazygurt 3-0, Glasgow City 5-0 and Norwegians LSK Kvinner 3-0 en route to the last four.
Playing for history
If that wasn't plenty to attract supporters to the potentially game-changing fixture for Barça's women, their success in the competition has inspired club sponsors Nike to design a new campaign in the city, featuring homegrown hero Alexia Putellas. The slogan, alongside their usual tagline, reads: 'Don't play for finals. Play for history.'
Barça have already laid the foundations. Now they need to make good on that slogan. Their 6-2 win against Atlético Madrid in the league on Wednesday will have been a huge boost for their confidence, showing no signs that the prospect of the final and the burden of history might be weighing on their shoulders ahead of Sunday's showdown.
Yet, it is true that the last major match at the stadium where the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta became men will be the most important match in the history of Barça Women. Come 12pm on Sunday, the Mini Estadi will not seem quite so small.