Martin Whiteley recaps all the action from the French and German leagues, and recounts the historic moment when the first labour agreement for Spanish women’s footballers was signed last week.
German leaders stay unbeaten, and gap appears in race for second Champions League spot
Playing in the opening game of the round, table-toppers Wolfsburg moved to 43 points after a 5-1 win at home to Turbine Potsdam. Ewa Pajor netted a brace as the home side won their fifth game in a row, stretching their unbeaten league run to 15 matches. The visitors came into this contest having won six of their last seven league games, but were not helped by the dismissal of Johanna Elsig just before the interval. The loss for the away team saw them remain in fifth place on 24 points.
Bayern Munich defeated SC Sand 3-1 on home soil to make it nine league games unbeaten. The win keeps the hosts six points behind the leaders, and moves them up a place into the final qualifying position for next season’s Champions League.
Hoffenheim lost back-to-back games after a 3-2 reversal away against SGS Essen to stay on 34 points. The defeat for the visitors also saw them slip down to third in the table. The victory for the fourth-place side was their third straight win in league play and moved them onto 28 points.
The loss for Turbine Potsdam allowed the teams below them to close the gap. FFC Frankfurt moved level on points with Turbine after a 3-1 home victory against Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile, seventh-place Freiburg advanced onto 19 points after a 2-2 draw at home to MSV Duisburg.
Leading three Feminine Division 1 sides edge further clear
In the game of the round, leaders Lyon faced fourth-in-the-table Montpellier. The return fixture back in November saw Lyon run out 3-0 winners, and on home soil they completed the season double with a 5-0 victory to move onto 44 points. Lucy Bronze, Nikita Parris, and Alex Greenwood all started for Lyon, with Parris scoring a quickfire brace around the hour mark. The victory for the home side stretched their unbeaten league run to 16 games. Montpellier remain on 30 points following this loss.
Second-place PSG remain three points behind the leaders, after a win away to Guingamp. The home side held PSG to a 1-1 draw in their previous meeting, but the visitors had no such problems this time around and claimed a 4-1 success. The victory for PSG extended their unbeaten run to seven games in league play, with the last five of those registering maximum points.
Third-place Bordeaux made it nine league games unbeaten. They moved onto 37 points after a 4-0 win on the road against Soyaux, in which Ouleymata Sarr scored a brace. The loss for the home side was their fourth Feminine Division 1 reversal in a row, and sees them remain on 16 points.
Developments on and off the field in Spain
Despite the pre-agreement being signed in December, finally, after a few delays, the first labour agreement for top-flight women players in Spain was officially signed at the headquarters of The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) on Tuesday afternoon.
The AFE stated that the strike action undertaken by its members had been a turning point in finally achieving a breakthrough in the negotiation process. The Union also thanked its members for their courage, companionship, and unity that ultimately made this agreement a reality.
On the field, leaders Barcelona made it 20 league games unbeaten to move onto 56 points after a 6-0 win away to Logroño. A brace of goals one minute apart just past the half-hour mark put the visitors in control, before Alexia claimed her second to give them an insurance tally on the stroke of half-time. The goals continued to flow for Barcelona after the break as Asisat Oshoala bagged a hat-trick. This defeat saw the hosts stay on 28 points.
Atlético Madrid remain nine points behind Barcelona, as the second-placed team defeated city rivals Madrid away from home. When the two sides met earlier in the season Atlético gained the victory by a solitary goal, and this contest ended with the same scoreline. Just like back in October, a strike from Charlyn Corral was the difference between the sides. Toni Duggan was named in the starting line-up for Atlético as they stretched their unbeaten league streak to 17 matches.
Third-place Levante returned to winning ways after coming from behind to record a 2-1 success at home against Tacón. Marta Corredera scored the winner for the home side in the 87th-minute as they advanced onto 42 points.
Taking part in the opening game of the round, Deportivo La Coruña got that winning feeling back as Ainize Barea bagged a hat-trick in a comfortable 5-1 victory at home to Sporting Huelva. Since returning from their winter break, Deportivo have been inconsistent with both a three-game unbeaten run and a losing streak of the same duration. A draw in a rearranged encounter at home to Real Sociedad in midweek sent Deportivo in the right direction once more; with their maximum point haul against Sporting adding to that, they now find themselves up to fourth in the table on 34 points. This loss for the visitors keeps them on 17 points and was the fifth in their last half-dozen league games to drop them into the relegation zone on goal difference.
Athletic Bilbao advanced to 34 points, but dropped down to fifth on goals scored after being held to a 2-2 draw away at Real Betis. It could have been worse for the visitors, had Yulema Corres not scored an 86th-minute equaliser to extend their unbeaten league run to four games. The point for the home side extended their own run to four league games without defeat, and keeps them in 14th spot on 17 points.
Real Sociedad moved to 33 points after a win on home turf against UDG Tenerife. The two sides had played out a scoreless draw back in October, but this time the team occupying the sixth position in the table claimed all three points, thanks to a single late goal from substitute Cecilia Marcos.
Rayo Vallecano moved to 28 points after 0-0 draw away to Valencia. The point for the home side moved them on to 17 and up to 13th place in the standings.
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