There has been plenty happening on the women’s scene in the three months since Japan won their first world title at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, with no shortage of high-quality action taking place in various leagues around the globe.
Rounding up the latest events, FIFA.com looks at the three-way title battle in Germany between FFC Frankfurt, Turbine Potsdam and FCR Duisburg, the conclusion of the Swedish championship, Lyon’s continuing dominance in France, and the start of the new campaign in New Zealand.
German Bundesliga: A three-horse race
The beginning of the 2011/12 season marked a new era in German women’s football, with the great Birgit Prinz, the most capped player in the history of the women’s Mannschaft, finally calling it a day. Proving that life goes on, even without the virtually irreplaceable Prinz, reigning German Cup champions FFC Frankfurt have launched a determined assault on the Bundesliga title, winning all of their opening seven games. That sequence includes last weekend's 7-1 defeat of Bayern Munich, when veteran international Sandra Smisek helped herself to a six-minute hat-trick.
That emphatic win took Sven Kahlert’s charges to the top of the table on goal difference ahead of title holders Turbine Potsdam, who also have a 100 per cent record to their name. Die Turbinen maintained their perfect start thanks to a 1-0 defeat of bottom club SC 07 Bad Neuenahr, youngster Jennifer Cramer scoring the only goal.
FCR Duisburg dropped their first points of the campaign when they drew 1-1 with SG Essen-Schonebeck on Matchday 6, a result that left Die Löwinnen two points adrift of the leading duo, though the club from the Ruhr got back to winning ways at the weekend by overcoming USV Jena.
Top three: FFC Frankfurt (21 pts); Turbine Potsdam (21); FCR Duisburg (19)
Swedish Damallsvenskan: Malmo do it again
While the new season is barely underway in Germany, the curtain is already coming down in Europe’s more northerly leagues, among them the highly competitive Damallsvenskan. Going into last weekend’s final round of games, top dogs LdB FC Malmo stood one point clear of Kopparbergs/Goteborg and three of Tyreso FF, their chances of landing the title on the last day helped by the fact that their two rivals had to face each other in their final game.
As it turned out, however, Martin Sjogren’s girls needed no outside assistance, with goals from current Sweden internationals Lina Nilsson, Caroline Seger and Therese Sjogran, not to mention Frida Nordin, Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir and Denmark’s Katrin Veje, helping them to a 6-0 win over KIF Orebro DFF on Saturday and a second consecutive title triumph. Taking second place behind Malmo were Kopparbergs/Goteborg, 4-1 winners over Tyreso.
Top three: LdB FC Malmo (49 pts); Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC (48); Umea IK (44)
Bottom two: Hammarby IF (8); Dalsjofors GoIF (8)
French Division 1 Feminine: Who can stop Lyon?
Strong favourites as the French league season commenced, UEFA Women’s Champions League holders Olympique Lyonnais have lived up to their billing with five wins and a draw in their opening six games. Sweden star Lotta Schelin has had a big part to play in their sprint out of the blocks. Having helped the Scandinavians to third place at Germany 2011, Schelin is way out in front in the French scoring charts with nine goals so far, followed by Camille Abily with five and Elodie Thomis, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer with four each. Amazingly, all five play for L’OL, who have racked up the small matter of 43 goals to date, while conceding just the one.
Hanging on to Lyon’s coat tails are Parisian outfit FCF Juvisy, who lie just the one point in arrears, albeit with a far inferior goal difference. While Schelin and Co were feasting once more in an 11-0 demolition of AS Muretaine on Sunday, Juvisy contented themselves with a hard-won 2-0 victory over Guingamp. Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-2 draw with FF Yzeure allowed Montpellier, 6-0 winners against FCF Henin-Beaumont, to move into third.
Top three: Olympique Lyonnais (22 pts); FCF Juvisy (21); Montpellier (19)
New Zealand ASB Women’s Youth League: Bad start for holders
New Zealand has just begun its league season, with eight teams divided into two conferences (Northern and Southern). Once again this year's national league is predominately an Under-20 competition, however three overage players are permitted to take the field at any one time. The season commenced with a surprise as defending champions Capital Football went down 1-0 to southern rivals Mainland Football in Christchurch. The title holders were back on form in their second outing, however, seeing off Football South 4-2.
In the north, last year’s championship runners-up Waikato-BOP also got off to the worst possible start, losing 4-2 to Northern Football, with Football Ferns forward Hannah Wilkinson scoring two of the goals for the victors. Topping the section, however, are Auckland Football, who cantered to a 6-1 defeat of Northern Conference Development, four of their goals coming from former international Rebecca Tegg.