Group A of the Women’s Champions League features three dangerous sides in Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid. The group produced some very interesting matches and included some very exciting story lines.
Chelsea, with thirteen points in five matches, are wreaking havoc on 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 goals scored, which seems like an easy task with human highlight reel Sam Kerr leading the Blues’ attack. They have not lost a game in the Champions League, only drawing with Real away from home.
PSG, with ten points, has 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 have looked strong. Yet, they did lose 1-0 to Chelsea and drew with Real.
Real Madrid, already mathematically eliminated from the group stage with their five points, has not been bad. Yet their offense cost them crucial games. They have only scored four goals in five total matches and have lost some very winnable games. They have performed well in Liga F, getting 28 points in just eleven matches.
The fourth team in the group, Albanian side Vllaznia, has a solid argument to be the worst team in the group stage. They are the only team to not score so far in the Champions League, and they have given up a whopping 23 goals in their time at the group stage. Vllaznia are undefeated in the Albanian Women’s National Championship, but that success has not transferred over on the continental stage.
A dangerous Wolfsburg side looking to avenge their semi-final exit in last year’s Champions League 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 lead Frauen-Bundesliga, with 30 points in 10 games. They have good wins like their 2-1 victory over Bayern and a 5-0 win over Frankfurt. They are dominant in Germany, but shaky in Europe. Although they lead their group, they have drawn with bottom-dwellers Slavia Prague and with their fierce Italian rivals Roma.
Roma is also doing pretty well. They lead Serie A, with Juve trailing by three points. Yet they have yet to unleash their dominant side in the group stage. At times, they have conceded lots of goals, but they have also shown some of their offensive firepowers. Roma has already secured automatic qualification, but they could be in for 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 win came from a stoppage-time winner against Slavia Prague, and they drew the Czech side again. Slavia Prague themselves had two draws; one from St. Poiten, and the other, surprisingly, from title contenders Wolfsburg.
Wolfsburg and Roma have already qualified for the quarter-finals. A win against St. Poiten in December 22 would give the Germans first place. Roma faces a Slavia Prague side searching 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 vying for two spots in the Champions League, the final matchday will be crucial to each team’s season.
Arsenal WFC, who landed just one point away from winning the Women’s Super League last season, have lost just once in this season’s edition. They look really strong this season, leading the league in goals allowed(5). Yet they’ve met their match in the Champions League. They recently lost a match that could have given them an automatic bid to the knockout round, and Arsenal has not exuded the sheer dominance you need to make a serious run into the finals. Some of the better games of their season were their 5-1 win over Lyon and 4-0 win over their hated rivals Spurs.
Similar to the Gunners, Lyon is uncharacteristically weak this season. The reigning European champions fell hard in their opening game in the Champions League and have struggled to find their footing. They have lost a game and drawn a game in France’s Division 1 Feminine, coming in at second place at the halfway point of the season.
Juventus has not had its best season in 2022. Suffering two draws and a loss in the highly competitive Group C, they are also lacking in Italy. In Serie A, which just turned professional six months ago, Juventus has drawn three games and lost one.
Despite coming in first in the Swiss Women’s Super League last season, Zurich has flopped this season. They have only scored one goal in five Champions League games, and have failed to get a single point through day five. In Switzerland, the side has lost two games in eight games, putting them in second.
Zurich is only playing for pride going into the last matchday on December 21, as they are mathematically eliminated. They play Arsenal, who has already qualified for the knockout round. Juventus, who plays Lyon away from home, has to win to move on
Group D, consisting of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Benfica, and Rosengard, is already decided. Both Barca and Bayern have 12 points, while Benfica has six Rosengard has none. Barca and Bayern have automatically secured qualification to the quarter-finals going into matchday six.
Barca, missing key players from last season like Jennifer Hermoso and Leila Ouahabi, is having a splendid start to the 2022-2023 season. They have won all twelve of their Liga F matches, giving them a large eight-point lead. They’ve also established their dominance with large wins over Benfica and Rosengard. Their only loss of the season came against a much-improved Bayern team, and their slip-up looks like an isolated incident so far.
Bayern has had a very good start to the season as well. They are second in the Frauen-Bundesliga, with just one game drawn and one game lost. They also advanced to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, making their mark with two big seven-goal wins against weaker teams.
Rosengard ended its dominant domestic season with a league title, but it’s been lacking continentally. It has not won any games so far in the Champions League. Benfica, reigning champions of Portugal’s Liga BPI, have gone undefeated in their league so far, but also have not succeeded against the powerhouse of Group D.
Bayern plays Rosengard and Barca plays Benfica on December 21. Bayern will likely need a better result in their match than Barca due to the goal difference between them.
As it stands, Barca is set to go through as group winners; not shocking, considering their near-perfect season in the 2021-22 season.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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