The fifth round in the group stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League has ended and five teams are guaranteed a place in the quarter finals. Five other teams still have to navigate one more matchday before we know which three teams will be joining the others.
In Group A, Chelsea FC, Juventus F.C. and VfL Wolfsburg are separated by three points, while in Group C, Arsenal FC and TSG 1889 Hoffenheim will face each other in a deciding match for who goes through from that group.
Chelsea squared off against Juventus on Tuesday night knowing that a win would book their place in the quarter-finals and also make them group leaders. Juventus on the other hand, knew that they needed to get at least a draw to keep their Champions League dream alive. The Italian champions got exactly that.
Chelsea spent most of the game peppering Juventus’ goal but could not find a way past Pauline Peyraud Magnin who produced one of the best goalkeeping performances so far this season in the Champions League. Time and time again, she stood strong against the likes of Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder, keeping her team in the game and with knock out stage qualification still in reach. Juventus had two shots all game, one on target, which shows just how dominant Chelsea were. The London outfit had 25 shots on goal but only five on target and every one of those fives was saved by Peyraud Magnin. The result leaves Chelsea still at the top but three points above Juventus with one game still to play.
In the other Group A game, Wolfsburg took a long time to get going but once they did, they knocked three goals past Servette FCCF.
The first of Wolfsburg’s three goals came in the 21st minute when Tabea Waßmuth’s effort came off the post and into Inês Pereira’s vicinity. The goalkeeper failed to gather the ball cleanly and ended up knocking it into her own net, granting Wolfsburg a fortuitous lead. The Germans got their second goal in the 83rd minute as Jill Roord latched onto a cross into the box and finished smartly past Pereira. Waßmuth then finished things off in stoppage time as snuck in behind her marker and finished from close range, securing the three points for Wolfsburg.
The gulf in quality between Servette and the other three teams in the group has been on show since the group stages began and they will head into their final game against Juventus hoping to score their first Champions League goal this campaign and salvage something for themselves.
In Group B, Paris Saint-Germain had already qualified for the next round and their 6-0 win over WFC Zhytlobud-1 Kharkiv made sure that they would finish as group leaders as well.
The Parisiennes were as dominant as they have been since this season in the Champions League began and made sure to take care of business against the hosts. PSG scored five of their six goals in the first half and despite picking up a red card later on the second half, were in complete control of the match and its outcome. Ramona Bachmann scored a brace while Jordyn Huitema, Sandy Baltimore, Laurina Fazer and Amanda Ilestedt all got on the scoresheet as well.
It’s been a tough campaign for Kharkiv who despite being so ahead of everyone else in the own league, are still a level or two below the likes of PSG and Real Madrid. They still have the chance to add to their solitary win this season but their Champions League campaign will end at the final whistle next week.
Despite still struggling domestically, Real Madrid bounced back from their loss against PSG, giving new manager Alberto Toril his first Champions League win with the team. Real Madrid knew that all they needed was three points to book their place alongside PSG in the quarter-finals and with the return of Kosovare Asllani and Marta Cardona, you had a feeling they would accomplish that.
Asllani got the start against Breiðablik UBK and despite the horrible weather conditions, showed exactly why she’s so highly regarded across the world. She was key to everything good that Madrid did and ended up with a brace before she was substituted out. Claudia Zornoza added the third goal for Madrid as they made it look easy against Breiðablik and ensured that their final group game against Kharkiv would be of no consequence.
Breiðablik, like Kharkiv, also failed to make a mark in their group and were easily swept aside by the European giants from France and Spain. They now know just how high they have to reach to be able to compete with the very best in Europe and they will look work towards that.
With their place in the quarter-finals already guaranteed, Barcelona travelled to London to make sure they would finish in first place as well. Just like the reverse fixture in Barcelona some weeks ago, Arsenal were second best in every category to the current champions.
Barcelona ended the game with four goals, 20 shots at goal with 10 of those on target compared to Arsenal’s measly two shots on target. Even with Patricia Guijarro missing from the starting lineup, Barcelona hardly skipped a beat while Arsenal continued their poor form from the weekend that saw them trounced in a similar fashion against Chelsea. Arsenal’s backline were lackadaisical for three of the four goals but there was nothing they could do about Fridolina Rolfö’s rocket just before half time. The champions continue to dominate every team they encounter while Arsenal need to pick themselves up quickly if they still want to finish second in this group.
The other Group C match saw HB Køge take on Hoffenheim and saw the German side pick up a huge 2-1 win away in Denmark.
Kyra Caruso gave the hosts an early lead but Hoffenheim rallied with two well-taken penalties by Nicole Billa. Both sides continued to test each other as they looked to secure a win for themselves but Hoffenheim held on to set up a big final matchday against Arsenal. Hoffenheim would have to beat the Gunners by at least five goals to finish above them so even though there’s still hope for the Germans, it will be a tall order for them to fulfill.
FC Bayern Munich and Olympique Lyonnais also put themselves in position to finish first and second respectively with big wins against BK Häcken and S.L. Benfica. Lyon, who need at least a point from their final group game to finish as the winners, dispatched Benfica easily with a 5-0 win.
Ada Hegerberg continues her return to full fitness and found herself on the end of two crosses to get a brace in tonight’s match. Wendie Renard, Griedge Mbock Bathy and Signe Brunn also found the back of the net in Lyon’s comprehensive win. The former champions will look to finish with a flourish against Häcken next week and thus, avoid any major competitors who finished first in their groups.
Bayern were in great form against Häcken as they marched to a 5-1 win this evening. Jovana Damnjanović was the best player on the pitch as she scored two goals just before and just after half time to put Bayern in the driver’s seat.
Häcken had opened the scoring in this game thanks to Stina Blackstenius in the 36th minute but Viviane Asseyi pulled Bayern level three minutes later. Linda Dallmann, along with Damnjanović and Lineth Beerensteyn then proceeded to score and thus make sure that Bayern would finish victorious on Wednesday evening. The win sees them guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals but they will be hoping that Lyon slip up next week so they can finish in first and potentially have an easier opponent in the first round of the knock out stages.