While the Women’s Champions League round of 32 taking place this week, Martin Whiteley looks at the clubs in France, Spain and Germany who could take the newly created third European spot in each league.
The sides in this season’s competition from France, Spain, and Germany are already in prime position to secure their place next time around too. The battle to claim the newly created third spot in each country is less straightforward.
With leaders PSG on 28 points and Lyon just one point behind them the Division 1 Féminine race for the final European spot is headed by Bordeaux beat Soyaux 2-1 to move on to 20 points.
A 3-1 victory on home soil against Issy kept Montpellier — last in Europe in the 2017-18 season — one point behind Bordeaux with both sides having played 10 matches.
Fleury 91 also remained in contention on 17 points after a 1-0 success away to Guingamp gave them their third straight win.
The situation in Spain is even more competitive with a number of games having been postponed due to positive Covid-19 results.
Champions Barcelona have only played seven games but are the only team to still have a perfect record.
Fellow European stalwarts Atlético Madrid currently sit level on points with the defending champions but have played three games more.
Assuming Barca and Atlético lead the way again this term the fight for the third European place would consist of teams with little or no previous continental football experience.
The surprise package this season is UDG Tenerife. Operating for less than 10 years the Canary Islands side currently sits atop the league after winning 3-1 against Real Betis to advance onto 23 points from their opening 10 games.
In just their first season Real Madrid have overcome an opening day loss to Barcelona to put together an impressive run of results that has moved them up to fourth in the table. A 5-2 success at home against Sevilla their sixth victory in their last seven outings.
Also with games in hand are last season’s third-place finishers Levante — participants three times in the previously named UEFA Women’s Cup — and they should also be in the mix.
With their scheduled DFB-Pokal Frauen opponents not yet known, Bayern Munich were able to defeat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 at home in their game in hand in league play. The victory for the leaders moved them onto 30 points and once again opened up a five-point lead over Wolfsburg.
With the top two having breathing space Hoffenheim and Turbine Potsdam are in pole position to battle it out for third with both sides having 19 points, although the latter does have a game in hand.
It would be a return to former glories for Turbine if they could regain a Champions League place having won the competition when it was first renamed in 2010.
The added place now available for the leading countries is definitely a positive that gives more clubs the opportunity to be able to experience European football. Don’t forget those passports.
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