The group stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League are finally done and every group has been decided. Eight teams have qualified for the next round of fixtures in this year’s competition while the other eight teams are headed home, their European exploits done for the season.
Chelsea 3-0 PSG
It was going to take a huge performance from Paris Saint-Germain with at least ten goals to top the group as they faced off against Chelsea FC but instead, the hosts proved their quality and put three past the Parisiennes. Sam Kerr scored a fantastic first goal, Lauren James was the happy recipient of a mistake at the back by PSG and then James capped off a lovely flowing move by Chelsea to make it three on the day.
Both teams are now looking towards the quarter final draw set to take place early next year to find out who they will be facing in the knock out stages.
Real Madrid 5-1 Vllaznia
In the other Group A game, Real Madrid CF hosted KS Vllaznia with both sides knowing they had nothing but pride left to play for. Megi Doçi gave Vllaznia a shock lead early in the game but Real Madrid found their bearings and proceeded to then knock five past the visitors. Caroline Weir scored the equaliser, Teresa Abelleira notched two in the space of three minutes, and two 17 year olds, Carla Camacho and Paula Partido, both got their first ever Champions League goals.
This wasn’t how neither Real Madrid nor Vllaznia wanted their campaign to end this season but considering the teams they had to face, they can both take heart from some of their performances over the last few months.
St. Pölten 2-8 Wolfsburg
Like Group A, Group B had already been decided going into the final matchday and when SKN St. Pölten hosted VfL Wolfsburg, the hosts were looking to try and end their continental campaign with something to build on for next season. Wolfsburg weren’t interested in helping such notions and ended up winning the game 8-2. Lena Lattwein and Marina Hegering got Wolfsburg off to a great start with two stunning goals, and then goals by Svenja Huth, Ewa Pajor, Tabea Waßmuth, Pia-Sophie Wolter (twice) and Pauline Bremer capped off a strong performance by the German champions. Mateja Zver and Rita Schumacher got on the scoresheet for St. Pölten but they were only consolation goals.
Wolfsburg finish top of Group B after a string of impressive performances and will fancy their chances of progressing, no matter who they get drawn against in the quarter finals.
Slavia Praha 0-3 Roma
Like Wolfsburg, AS Roma knew that their place in the knock out stages for the first time in their history was already a done deal. They just needed to put in a professional performance in their last group game and look forward to the draw next year. They did just that with goals from Valentina Giacinti, Beata Kollmats and Elena Linari.
Roma have been a great team to watch this season and may spring a surprise on whoever they match up with next. Despite going out in the group stages, Slavia Praha did show potential even against the likes of Wolfsburg. They will want to work on that for next season’s campaign and see if they can make it out of the group stages then.
Lyon 0-0 Juventus
Of the group games still left to be played, this one held the most significance. Juventus FC needed to win away to Olympique Lyonnais while the hosts only needed a draw to finish second in the group and thus qualify for the knock out stages. Both teams didn’t hesitate in looking for an early goal which made the game end-to-end for large portions of the match.
Ultimately, Juventus didn’t get the goal they needed to move on from the group stages and in their stead, Lyon advanced to the quarter finals as runner ups in Group C.
Zürich 1-9 Arsenal
It’s been that kind of campaign for FC Zürich. Up against Arsenal FC, Juventus CF and Olympique Lyonnais, they had the unenviable task of somehow beating any of these three teams to give themselves any hope of making the knock out stages. Instead, the class of the other three teams told every time they played Zürich which resulted in the Swiss side finishing with a goal difference of of -24. This time around, it was Arsenal who put the hosts to the sword as Frida Maanum scored a fantastic hat trick, Caitlin Foord and Stina Blackstenius bagged two goals a piece, and both Kim Little and Mana Iwabuchi got themselves on the scoresheet as well. Fabienne Humm scored a composed penalty for Zürich but it proved to be only a consolation goal.
The final group game win saw Arsenal top Group C, with only one loss and one draw to their name. Despite still missing key players due to injury, the Gunners made it look easy at times in Group C and will want to carry that form into the quarter finals.
Bayern 2-0 Benfica
Bayern Munich knew going into this match that it would take not only a win against SL Benfica, but a win with massive margin to finish top of Group D. They didn’t manage to score enough goals to topple Barcelona from their perch but two goals by Klara Bühl were enough to guarantee them a victory against a Benfica side that proved to be a stubborn opponent over the course of the group stage.
It remains to be seen who Bayern will face in the knock out stages but they will look back to their recent victory against Barcelona as reason to feel like they can beat any team they get after the draw is done. As for Benfica, their journey in the Champions League this season is done but they continue to impress every time they qualify for the competition, In a different group, they may have made it to the knock out stages this time but unfortunately, they were up against two of the better teams in Europe right now.
Barcelona 6-0 Rosengård
FC Barcelona and FC Rosengård’s fates in Group D had already been decided before kick off on Matchday 6 but that didn’t stop the hosts from putting on a show in front of their fans, as seems to be the norm for them now. Asisat Oshoala got the ball rolling with two goals early in the first half, Mapi León added a beautiful third from the free kick spot, and Fridolina olfö, Marta Torrejón and Irene Paredes added goals in the second half to cap off a dominant display by the hosts.
Barcelona had already qualified for the quarter finals and were set to finish top of the group due to their goal difference. The additional six goals against Rosengård made it even more difficult for Bayern to bypass them in the end.