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UWCL Review: Real Madrid are out, Ajax stun Bayern

The Spanish outfit are in the group stages for the first time in their history.

Real Madrid CF v Paris FC: Group D - UEFA Women’s Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Maria Jimenez - Real Madrid/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Another matchday passed by in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, which also ended being the last action we see from the competition this calendar year. Real Madrid exited out of the competition earlier than anyone expected, while FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais booked their places in the knock out stages.

Real Madrid’s woeful form reaches its climax

Real Madrid haven’t been very good over the last two months. Both in the league and in the Champions League, the perennial Round of 16 found themselves in dire straits after Matchday 3 and knew anything short of a win at home against Paris FC would be the end of their campaign. They then proceeded to lose to a Gaëtane Thiney penalty, which signalled the end of their Champions League journey for this season.

If they haven’t already, questions should be asked of Alberto Toril’s management so far this season. The players have been hampered by his tactics and their previous results came about due to individual brilliance. If Toril doesn’t turn things around in the new year, his job will undoubtedly be on the line particularly when you look at how many of Real Madrid’s main player are out of contract next summer.

Lyon stumble against Brann but qualify anyway

After taking a 2-0 lead, Lyon looked to be headed to another routine win. However, a dubious red card to Lindsey Horan early in the second half gave hosts SK Brann Kvinner the opening they needed to get something from this game.

Brann have been a great watch this season and were in the game against Lyon even after going down by two goals. They kept plugging away, forcing Lyon further and further back, and putting Christiane Endler to the test. In the end, backed by a truly impressive home crowd, their pressure told and they got the equalising goal late in stoppage time. It puts them in great position to qualify along with Lyon if they manage to win their next game.

SK Brann v Olympique Lyonnais: Group B - UEFA Women’s Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Alex Pantling - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Ajax stun Bayern

In the previous matchday, AFC Ajax came very close to beating Bayern Munich in their own backyard. This time around, Ajax used their home advantage to pull off a one-nil win. Ajax deserved the win as they seemed more in sync than Bayern did and found a way to keep Bayern’s attack quiet for most of the game.

Lily Yohannes, Ajax’s 16-year old phenom continues to impress and it won’t be surprising if she ends up on the USWNT radar sooner rather than later. She’s been featured in youth camps before but if she stays on this trajectory, she may be fast-tracked to the senior national team setup sooner rather than later.

Barcelona brush aside Rosengård

Barcelona booked their place in the Round of 16 with a seven-nil rout of FC Rosengård at home. Barcelona were at their absolute best and continually peppered Rosengård’s goal from the very first whistle. Mariona Caldentey and Aitana Bonmatí continue to make the Catalans tick in Alexia Putellas absence and they look to be in imperious form once again, carrying over their form from last season into this one.

It was no surprise that they ended the game with seven goals and quite honestly, it could’ve been more. They remain unbeaten in the competition and look primed to repeat last year’s success in May next year.