Group A of the Women’s Champions League consists of three dangerous teams: Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. The group produced some very interesting matches and featured some very exciting storylines.
Chelsea, with thirteen points in five games, ruined both the Women’s Super League and the Champions League. They are first in the table with 27 points in 10 games.
Chelsea lead the Super League in terms of goals scored, which seems like an easy task with Sam Kerr, the human standout, leading the Blues’ attack. They have not lost a game in the Champions League, only drawn with Real away from home.
PSG, with ten points, have not been much worse than their London-based counterparts. They lead Division 1 Feminine, one point ahead of reigning European champions Lyon. In the Champions League they looked strong. Still, they lost 1-0 to Chelsea and drew with Real.
RealMadrid, already mathematically eliminated in the group stage with their five points, has not been bad. Still, their attack cost them crucial games. They have only scored four goals in five games in total and have lost some very winnable games. They have performed well in Liga F, collecting 28 points in just eleven games.
The fourth team in the group, Albanian side Vllaznia, has a solid argument for being the worst team in the group stage. They are the only team not to have scored in the Champions League to date, conceding a whopping 23 goals in their time in the group stage. Vllaznia is undefeated in the Albanian Women’s National Championship, but that success has not carried over to the continental stage.
A dangerous Wolfsburg side looking to avenge their exit from last year’s Champions League semi-final looks better than ever. They lead Group B with eleven points, followed by Roma with ten, St. Polten with four and Slavia Prague with two.
Wolfsburg leads Frauen-Bundesliga, with 30 points in 10 games. They have good wins, like their 2-1 win over Bayern and a 5-0 win over Frankfurt. They are dominant in Germany, but shaky in Europe. Although leading their group, they have drawn with sub-resident Slavia Prague and with their fierce Italian rivals Roma.
Roma goes pretty well too. They lead Serie A, three points behind Juve. Still, they have yet to unleash their dominant side in the group stage. At times they conceded a lot of goals, but they also showed some of their attacking firepower. Roma have already secured automatic qualification, but they could face an early exit with their recent form.
Austrian champions St Poiten launched a serious campaign this season, but no one really expected them to do well. St Poiten’s only victory came from an injury time winner against Slavia Prague, and they drew again with the Czech side. Slavia Prague had two draws themselves; one from St. Poiten, and the other, surprisingly, from title contender Wolfsburg.
Wolfsburg and Roma have already qualified for the quarter-finals. A victory over St. Poiten on 22 December would give the Germans first place. Roma face a Slavia Prague side looking for its first Champions League win in 2022.
Unlike the other three groups, group C is wide open. With Arsenal, reigning champions Lyon and Juventus all battling for two spots in the Champions League, the final day will be crucial to any team’s season.
Arsenal WFC, which was just one point away from winning the Women’s Super League last season, lost just once this season. They look very strong this season and lead the league in goals conceded (5). Yet they have found their match in the Champions League. They recently lost a match that could have earned them an automatic bid for the knockout round, and Arsenal haven’t exuded the sheer dominance you need to seriously reach the final. Some of the better games of their season were their 5-1 win over Lyon and 4-0 victory over their hated rivals Spurs.
Like with the Gunners, Lyons is unusually weak this season. The reigning European champion crashed hard in their opening game in the Champions League and is struggling to gain a foothold. They have lost a game and drawn a game in the French Women’s Division 1, finishing second at the halfway point of the season.
Juventus has not had its best season in 2022. With two draws and a defeat in the highly competitive Group C, they are also missing in Italy. In Serie A, who only turned professional six months agoJuventus has drawn three games and lost one.
Despite finishing first in the Swiss Women’s Super League last season, Zurich flopped this season. They have scored just one goal in five Champions League games and have not scored a single point through day five. In Switzerland, the team lost two games in eight games, placing second.
Zurich are only playing out of pride going into the final day of play on December 21, as they are mathematically eliminated. They play against Arsenal, who have already qualified for the knockout round. Juventus, who play Lyon, must win to progress
Group D, consisting of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Rosengard, has already been decided. Both Barca and Bayern have 12 points, while Benfica has six. Rosengard has none. Barca and Bayern have automatically secured qualification for the quarter-finals on matchday six.
Barcelona, who missed last season’s key players such as Jennifer Hermoso and Leila Ouahabi, are having a brilliant start to the 2022-2023 season. They have won all twelve of their Liga F games, giving them a comfortable eight-point lead. They have also established their dominance with big wins over Benfica and Rosengard. Their only defeat of the season was against a much-improved Bayern team and their misstep so far seems like an isolated incident.
Bayern has also had a very good start to the season. They are second in the Frauen-Bundesliga, having only drawn one game and lost one. They also progressed to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, making their mark with two big seven-goal wins against weaker teams.
Rozengaard ended its dominant domestic season with a league title, but failed continental. It has so far not won any matches in the Champions League. Benficareigning champions of the Portuguese Liga BPI, are undefeated in their league so far, but have also failed against the Group D powerhouse.
Bayern will play Rosengard and Barca will play Benfica on December 21. Bayern will probably need a better result in their game than Barca because of the goal difference between them.
As it stands, Barça will continue as group winners; not shocking, given their near-perfect season in the 2021-22 season.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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