New seasons, familiar challengers
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There were contrasting fortunes for the traditional elite as the new season in Germany got underway with, most notably, champions Wolfsburg held at home. The opposite is the case in France where Olympique Lyon – beaten by Wolfsburg in last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final – have opened in typically irresistible fashion. Japan champion INAC Kobe Leonessa also appear untouchable in Japan, however long-term English queens Arsenal are facing their moment of truth.

Germany: New look to early season table
A handful of upsets in the opening round of the German Bundesliga has left the fledgling league ladder with a distinctly unusual appearance. Bayer Leverkusen sit at the summit after seeing off Duisburg with three unanswered goals, helped by a double from former U-20 national team skipper Ramona Petzelberger. Perennial challengers 1.FFC Frankfurt were 2-0 victors at Freiburg, while the only other winner was Hoffenheim who defeated Sindelfingen with an injury-time winner from Japan starlet Mana Iwabuchi. German and continental champions Wolfsburg were held 1-1 by the visiting Bayern Munich in front of a large crowd at home, while Jena provided the shock of the round with a 1-1 draw at Turbine Potsdam.
Top three: Bayer Leverkusen, Frankfurt, Hoffenheim (all 3 points)

France: Lyon into stride early
French powerhouse Olympique Lyon have hit the ground running in the new domestic season, winning their first two matches with seven unanswered goals. A comfortable 3-0 weekend win over Juvisy – the last club to break Lyon’s league domination in 2006 – leaves the champions top on goal difference. The only other side with a perfect record after two rounds is Paris Saint Germain who saw off Muret 4-0 with Laura Georges scoring twice.
Top three: Olympique Lyon, Paris Saint Germain (both 8), Soyaux, Guingamp (both 6)

England: Gunners fire blanks
Arsenal’s hopes of a tenth consecutive English championship suffered a major blow as the north Londoners played out consecutive home scoreless draw against Lincoln and Bristol Academy respectively. With two rounds remaining the title is now Liverpool’s to lose with the Reds 2-0 winners over Doncaster Rover Belles, with goals in each half from Natasha Dowie and Swede Louise Fors. Bristol, with a match in hand, still have a mathematically chance of winning the league with much set to hinge on their final-day visit to Liverpool.
Top three: Liverpool (30), Arsenal (27), Bristol Academy (25)

Japan: Leonessa march on
INAC Kobe Leonessa’s seemingly inexorable march to another league title continued on the weekend as they maintained their perfect record after ten rounds. A week after winning the Nadeshiko League Cup – the first part of a possible treble – Leonessa eased to a 4-0 win over Albirex Niigata on the back of a double from California-born striker Beverly Goebel-Yanez. NTV Beleza remain eight points in arrears despite a 3-1 victory over Kibi International University.
Top three: INAC Kobe Leonessa (30), NTV Beleza (22), Vegalta Sendai (18)