Women's Champions League Preview: Meet the Teams

Ali Rampling
Arsenal are the only remaining English team in Europe
Arsenal are the only remaining English team in Europe / James Chance/Getty Images
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The Women's Champions League returns on Friday 21 August, following 10 months without any European action.

Sides played their last 16 ties way back in October, and the tournament will conclude over the space of nine days in the Basque Country in Spain.

The competition is currently at the quarter final stage, and just like with the men's Champions League, fixtures will be one legged affairs. However, unlike their male counterparts, any new signings made over the summer can feature in the Champions League.

Let's take a look at who's left and whether they should fancy their chances of European glory.


Atletico Madrid

Duggan helped knock out former side Man City
Duggan helped knock out former side Man City / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

This is just Atletico's fourth season in the Champions League, and the first time they have got beyond the last 16 stage, having beaten a below-par Manchester City to progress to the quarter-finals.

Atletico come into the quarters off the back of their worst domestic season since 2016 - finishing second and surrendering their league title for the first time in four years. They are also on their third coach of the season, and their quarter final clash with Barcelona will be just Dani González's eighth competitive fixture in charge. It's also been a pretty topsy-turvy summer thus far, with a huge turnover of players, in addition to a number of their squad testing positive for coronavirus.

Forward Toni Duggan will be a familiar face for both Barcelona and English fans. The forward has been a mainstay in the England squad for the past seven years, and joined Atletico in the summer from Barcelona.


Barcelona

Hermoso is Barcelona's talisman
Hermoso is Barcelona's talisman / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona will go into the quarter finals as strong favourites to progress to the last four, having finished nine points clear of opponents Atletico in the Primera Division to win their first league title for four years.

Last year's beaten finalists progressed to the last eight with a comfortable 8-1 aggregate victory over Belarusian outfit FC Minsk. They reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history during the 2018/19 campaign, but suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat to European heavyweights Lyon.

Leading the line for Barcelona will be talisman - and former Atletico Madrid forward - Jenni Hermoso. The Spanish international has had two spells with both Barcelona and Atletico, and is considered one of her country's finest players.


Glasgow City

Goalkeeper Alexander played a blinder as Glasgow made the quarter finals
Goalkeeper Alexander played a blinder as Glasgow made the quarter finals / Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Across the Europa League and men's and women's Champions League there are just two British teams remaining - one of which is Glasgow City.

The Scottish champions have qualified for the Champions League every year for the past decade, but this is just the second time in their history that they have made it to the last eight. They did so in dramatic fashion, requiring extra time and penalties to overcome Brondby in the last 16, with goalkeeper Lee Alexander the hero in both normal time and the shootout.

Ahead of the quarter finals, Glasgow have brought in four new faces - South Africa captain Janine van Wyk, prolific striker Krystyna Freda, fullback Zaneta Wyne and youngster Lauren Davidson. They also have Sam Kerr... but the 21-year-old Scotland midfielder, not the record breaking world-class Australian superstar. Maybe one day...


Wolfsburg

VfL Wolfsburg recently won the DFB Cup final
VfL Wolfsburg recently won the DFB Cup final / Lars Baron/Getty Images

Glasgow will be really up against it in the quarter-finals, as they face giants Wolfsburg. The German champions have reached the final of the competition five times in the last eight years, and have been crowned champions of Europe twice in that time.

The German outfit could have a substantial advantage over their Scottish counterparts, as unlike every other women's top tier in Europe, the Frauen Bundesliga resumed following the coronavirus - which Wolfsburg went on to win for a sixth consecutive year.

Wolfsburg have added Pauline Bremer to their ranks this summer, with the former Manchester City forward joining a strike force that already includes Germany captain and all round football icon Alexandra Popp.


Lyon

Lyon have four Lionesses
Lyon have four Lionesses / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

While their male counterparts were the plucky underdogs for their Champions League quarter final against Manchester City, you definitely won't be cheering for the outsiders if you're supporting Lyon this time around.

The European heavyweights have won the Champions League six times in 10 years and boast a squad oozing with world class talent. From silky German playmaker Dzsenifer Marozsán, to the lethal Eugenie Le Sommer up top, every position is filled by a player of international quality.

There are also plenty of Lionesses to look out for in the Lyon side, with Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Nikita Parris and Jodie Taylor all regular first-team members.


Bayern Munich

Bayern finished runners up to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga
Bayern finished runners up to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Bayern will be up against it when they face European giants and Champions League favourites Lyon - although they will have the added advantage of having continued with their domestic season following the coronavirus, while Saturday's opponents have not.

The German outfit have only progressed past the quarter final stage once in their history - in 2019 - and finished 12 points behind Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga during the 2019/20 season.

Bayern will also be without former captain Melanie Leupolz for the remainder of their Champions League campaign, after she signed for Chelsea in March. However, they have acquired exciting German international Lea Schuller, who will add a splash of real attacking quality.


Arsenal

Arsenal have not played in Europe since 2014
Arsenal have not played in Europe since 2014 / Kate McShane/Getty Images

Arsenal remain the only British side to have won the women's Champions League, having lifted the famous trophy back in 2007.

The Gunners recorded a crushing 13-2 aggregate win over Slavia Praha to progress to the last eight, with Vivianne Miedema scoring seven goals across the two legs. When she's in the mood there is no one quite like her in world football.

With Chelsea and Manchester City making blockbuster signings in the WSL transfer window, many believe last season's top two could be pulling away from the Gunners. But when it comes to a starting XI alone, Arsenal still boast the quality to compete with anyone in Europe. Beth Mead and Kim Little will have returned from injury, while summer signings Steph Catley, Noëlle Maritz, Malin Gut and Lydia Williams will also be available.


PSG

Germany international Däbritz is one of PSG's star players
Germany international Däbritz is one of PSG's star players / Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

PSG unsurprisingly missed out on the Femine Division 1 title to the might of Lyon - but demonstrated that the gap is closing as they took their French rivals to penalties in the Coupe de France Feminine final at the beginning of August.

The French side breezed into the last eight with an 8-1 aggregate victory over Icelandic outfit Breidablik. They have reached the Champions League final twice - most recently in 2017.

PSG boast a real international squad, and in Sara Däbritz they possess a midfielder of real class. Their tie against Arsenal promises to be one of the tightest of the round.


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