Aspiration and glory as seasons begin and end
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This week’s women’s club football action was highlighted by an upset in USA’s season finale. In Europe aspiration remain high with new seasons opening across several countries, notably Germany and France. Elsewhere, the final run-in commenced in Japan where the status quo remained unchanged.

USA: Kansas claim their reward
FC Kansas City made up for last season’s heartbreaking late fade by overcoming favourites Seattle Reign on their own turf to win a maiden NWSL crown. A goal in each half from Amy Rodriguez – both set-up by midfielder Lauren Holiday – allowed the Midwestern side to see off Seattle who had lost just twice this season. Megan Rapinoe finally pulled a goal back late on for Seattle following a host of missed opportunities, but Kansas would not be denied their first silverware.

Germany: Champs fire, challengers rise
League and continental champions Wolfsburg opened the new Bundesliga season in familiar fashion with a 3-0 win over visiting Duisburg. Perennial title contenders Turbine Potsdam had an even easier time with a 4-0 home victory over newly-promoted Herforder. Much interest focussed on Bavaria where the newly-strengthened Bayern Munich proved they will be a force to be reckoned with by securing a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the league’s most successful club 1.FFC Frankfurt.

France: Contenders open brightly
A familiar set of results kicked-off the new season in France with the main league favourites all off to bright starts. Holders and eight-time champions Lyon opened with a 3-0 home win over Guingamp. It was Paris Saint-Germain, however, who narrowly claimed top spot on goal difference after easing to a 5-0 win over Arras. Fellow Parisians Juvisy were also comfortable winners, 3-0 over ASJ Soyaux.

Japan: Form book retained in second stage
Okayama Yunogo Belle opened the Championship stage of the season the way they finished the opening half of the campaign; in winning fashion and on top of the standings. Okayama commenced the ten-match second and final stage with a hard-fought 3-1 comeback win over JEF United. The other two matches ended in parity with NTV Beleza earning a 1-1 draw at Albirex Niigata. Champions INAC Kobe Leonessa needed the second of two goals from Megumi Takase to earn a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw at Urawa Reds. The six teams commence the second period of the campaign with bonus points dependant on where they finished the regular season.
Top three: Okayama Yunogo Belle (9 points), NTV Beleza (6), Urawa Reds (5)