ROAD TO CARDIFF
Quarter-finals (23 29 March)
Fortuna Hjørring (DEN) v Manchester City (ENG)**
Rosengård (SWE) v Barcelona (ESP)*
Wolfsburg (GER) v Lyon (FRA, holders)
Bayern München (GER) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
*First leg 22 March
**Second leg 30 March
Semi-final draw (22/23 29/30 April)
1 Rosengård/Barcelona v Bayern/Paris
2 Fortuna/Man. City v Wolfsburg/Lyon
Final: 1 June, Cardiff City Stadium
Winner semi-final 2 v winner semi-final 1
Wolfsburg v Lyon
A rematch of last year’s final, which Lyon won on penalties after a 1-1 draw to avenge their defeat by Wolfsburg in the 2013 decider. Three-time champions Lyon and their twice-crowned hosts are the tournament’s only remaining teams to have lifted the trophy. Wolfsburg have Lena Goessling injured and competition top scorer Zsanett Jakabfi has been sidelined of late, while Lyon stole winter headlines by signing United States forward Alex Morgan.
Wolfsburg: second – Wolfsburg could hardly be in better form. The last two additions to their 11-game winning streak have come against Bayern – first a 2-0 away victory in the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, with Tessa Wullaert’s strike followed by an own goal, then a home victory on Sunday by the same scoreline courtesy of Pauline Harder and Isabel Kerschowski. Wolfsburg still trail the last team to beat them, Turbine Potsdam, by two points.
Lyon: first – OL look fully on course for an 11th straight French title following Saturday’s 5-0 stroll at Albi in which Morgan scored twice to add to her hat-trick the previous Sunday in a 6-0 French Cup quarter-final thrashing of Rodez. In total, Lyon have won all nine of their fixtures in 2017, scoring 45 goals and keeping eight clean sheets, putting them seven points clear of Paris with six games left.
Player to watch: Alex Morgan (Lyon) – Morgan has taken excellently to French football with five goals in her last two matches as she prepares for her UEFA competition debut.
Bayern v Paris
Another Franco-German encounter, though Bayern are in their first quarter-final at their third attempt and Paris are also yet to claim the trophy, having been runners-up in 2015. Paris winter loan signing Amandine Henry has returned to her American club Portland Thorns and another arrival, Nataša Andonova, is cup-tied. Experienced Brazilian Formiga could make her European debut aged 39.
Bayern: third – The two losses to Wolfsburg have left the reigning German champions six points off the top and out of the cup. Injury problems deprived them of Simone Laudehr, Nora Holstad, Melanie Leupolz, Stefanie van der Gragt, Mana Iwabuchi, Anna Gerhardt, Viktoria Schnaderbeck and Sarah Romert on Sunday, meaning a debut for 16-year-old Sydney Lohmann, part of the Germany squad that won the 2016 UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship.
Paris: second – Paris suffered a 2-0 reverse at Marseille on Saturday and are only one point above third-placed Montpellier, the race to ensure European football overtaking a title challenge to Lyon as the main domestic priority. The previous Sunday they reached the French Cup semi-finals with a 6-5 penalty shoot-out success at Juvisy following a 1-1 draw.
Player to watch: Vivianne Miedema (Bayern) – Bayern’s top scorer in the league and in Europe is just 20 but could be the key if they are to unlock Paris’s formidable defence.
Fortuna v Machester City
Debutants City eliminated Brøndby in the round of 16 and now take on Denmark’s other European regulars, who finally halted a run of seven straight exits at that stage. Both sides have made signings in their long winter pauses, with Fortuna adding goalkeeper Guro Pettersen and forward Chù Santos, and City acquiring Carli Lloyd, Keira Walsh, Abbie McManus, Megan Campbell and Melissa Lawley.
Fortuna: second – While the championship phase of the Danish league does not begin until next month, Fortuna have been back in action over the last two Saturdays. They won 3-0 at Vejle in the domestic cup quarter-finals and then in this weekend’s last four first leg they drew 1-1 at home to Brøndby
City: close season – City played their first competitive fixture of 2017 on Saturday when they prevailed 1-0 against Reading in the FA Women’s Cup last 16. Friendly results have included a 2-1 home loss to FFC Frankfurt.
Player to watch: Carli Lloyd (City) – another winter arrival in Europe from the United States, reigning FIFA player of the year Lloyd strengthens a City squad that landed the English title unbeaten last year. She made her debut against Reading.
Rosengård v Barcelona
Rosengård have not got past this stage since their predecessor club Malmö reached the 2003/04 semis. However, having been denied by either Lyon or a German opponent in the last few seasons, they are now considered favourites against Barcelona, who themselves have lost both previous quarter-finals.
Rosengård: close season – In a quiet winter, last year’s Swedish runners-up have signed Hanna Folkesson, Sanne Troelsgaard and Sophie Sundqvist. They have also played two Swedish Cup ties, exactly a month apart, pasting Göteborg 5-0 on 18 February and then winning 1-0 at Piteå on Saturday in the quarter-finals.
Barcelona: second – Since the international break, Barcelona have beaten Espanyol 5-0 and, on Saturday, won 2-0 at Fundación Albacete. However, they remain four points adrift of Atlético de Madrid
Player to watch: Marta (Rosengård) – Now a Swedish citizen (though she will continue to play for Brazil), Marta has been joined in attack this European season by Lotta Schelin, a winner for the third time last year with Lyon.
Winners: Lyon (2011, 2012, 2016), Wolfsburg (2013, 2014)
Runners-up: Fortuna Hjørring (2003), Paris Saint-Germain (2015)
Semi-finals: Rosengård (2004, as Malmö)
Quarter-finals: Barcelona (2014, 2016)
First quarter-final: Bayern München (third campaign), Manchester City (debut campaign)
1 Zsanett Jakabfi (Wolfsburg) 8
2 Vivianne Miedema (Bayern) 7
3 Eugénie Le Sommer (Lyon) 5
4= Camille Abily (Lyon), Ada Hegerberg (Lyon), Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona) 4