Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona: 5 mouth-watering Women’s Champions League ties this season | OneFootball
Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona: 5 mouth-watering Women’s Champions League ties this season
The 21st Women’s Champions League is the first instalment of the competition to feature a group stage, and the 16 teams competing this year have now found out their fate.
In total, there are four groups, comprising of four teams, with two sides advancing from each to form the quarter-finals draw.
Defending champions Barcelona qualified automatically for the tournament, as did Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG, who all won their respective domestic leagues.
All four of these sides will face tricky group stage opposition, however, with some enticing fixtures on paper.
Here are the top five ties to look forward to this season:
Wolfsburg vs Chelsea
The Blues lost last year’s final to Barcelona in Gothenburg but were seeded in pot one for the draw, having won the Women’s Super League.
Joining them in Group A is Wolfsburg –– a side Emma Hayes’ team have faced four times in the last six years.
Chelsea got the better of the German side in last year’s quarter-finals, but it was Wolfsburg who won the previous three encounters.
The Frauen-Bundesliga team have won the Champions League twice in the past, but finished second domestically last season and are not the same force they once were.
Blues forward Pernille Harder will relish the chance to return to her former club as well, having signed for Chelsea from Wolfsburg for a record fee in 2020.
PSG vs Real Madrid
In the pick of the Group B fixtures, French champions PSG will face Real Madrid.
The Parisian side ended Lyon’s run of five consecutive European titles last year and also pipped their rivals to the league title.
Boasting players such as Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Sandy Baltimore, PSG will hope to build on their recent success and add a first Champions League trophy to their growing cabinet.
Madrid, meanwhile, are on an upward trajectory themselves, finishing second in last year’s Primera División, despite only being formed in 2020.
The Spanish side also knocked out Manchester City on course to making the group stage, suggesting they are not a side to be dismissed this season.
Barcelona vs Arsenal
Barcelona thrashed Chelsea in last year’s final to claim their first European silverware.
With bags of star quality across every position, the Catalonian side are the new dominant force in world football and are unsurprisingly favourites to retain their Champions League title.
Arsenal have struggled somewhat in recent years, but have started this season brilliantly and sit joint top of the WSL after two games.
Led by new head coach Jonas Eidevall, the Gunners beat Chelsea 3-2 at the Emirates recently and look set to be title contenders this campaign.
Having signed the likes of Nikita Parris from Lyon and former Man United star Tobin Heath, Arsenal may well give the Spanish team a better game than many predict.
Bayern Munich vs Lyon
Despite their unrivalled European record, it’s actually Bayern Munich who are the top seed in Group D, ahead of Lyon.
The German team won the Frauen-Bundesliga last season and are seemingly showing signs of improvement every year.
Lyon may have suffered a dismal 2020/2021 campaign, but they have started this year in impressive fashion, scoring 15 goals in their first three league games and conceding none.
The French side have bolstered their squad heavily, bringing in former Arsenal star Daniëlle van de Donk as well as Chile keeper Christiane Endler.
Chelsea vs Juventus
Emma Hayes’ team have been drawn in the ‘group of death’ and will have to contend with the threat of Juventus as well as Wolfsburg.
Juventus are the Italian champions are now managed by former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro, who once inspired the Gunners to a 5-0 win over the Blues.
The Turin-based side are flying in the Women’s Serie A with three wins from three and could cause an upset, despite being unseeded in this year’s competition.