Reigning European champions Lyon made an emphatic statement in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final, with FFC Frankfurt favoured in the other match-up to win through to next month’s finale in Munich.

A new season has commenced in Japan for the first time since the national team won last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™, with holders INAC Kobe Leonessa starting their campaign where they left off last term. also reviews action from Sweden, and also Germany where there were goals aplenty for title aspirants VFL Wolfsburg.

*UEFA Women’s Champions League: Lyon imperious, Frankfurt resilient *Lyon and FFC Frankfurt have one foot in next month’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final after contrasting victories over Turbine Potsdam and Arsenal respectively. Reigning champions Lyon were in imperious form at their Stade de Gerland overpowering the Germans 5-1 in what was a repeat of the last two continental deciders. The home side raced to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the first half, with the visitors only earning a consolation in the dying moments of a one-sided contest. Camille Abily starred by scoring a double for Patrice Lair’s side with Lyon’s depth indicated as France star Louisa Necib started on the bench.

In a far tighter contest, Frankfurt edged Arsenal 2-1 in London thanks only to a Kerstin Garefrekes goal with what was effectively the last kick of the match. Dzsenifer Marozsan starred for the visitors after entering the fray as a first half substitute and duly set up Switzerland international Ana Crnogorcevic for the opener just past the hour mark. Ciara Grant responded almost immediately with a far post header, only for veteran midfielder Garefrekes to have the final say. The match was also notable for the return of Kim Kulig for Frankfurt, who came on in the second half for what was her first appearance since suffering a knee injury in Germany’s FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final loss against Japan last July.

*Japan: Champions to the fore *

Reigning champions INAC Kobe Leonessa claimed the early ascendency as the new season commenced in Japan. Leonessa overpowered newly renamed Sperenza Osaka 7-0 with seven different goalscorers on the scoresheet. NTV Beleza, the nation’s most successful club with 12 league titles to their credit, settled into second as they seek to renew last year’s tussle with Leonessa. Asano Nagasato, younger sister of Potsdam’s Yuki, took the early goalscoring honours by hitting a double for Beleza against Fukuoka J Anclass.

*Top three: INAC Leonessa (3 points), NTV Beleza (3), Urawa Red Diamonds (3) *

*Sweden: Familiar faces make earlier running *

LDB Malmo maintained a perfect start to their title defence with a 5-2 victory over Kristianstads with star German recruit Anja Mittag scoring twice. The champions sit narrowly clear on goal difference of Umea who ground out a 2-0 victory at Orebro thanks to second-half goals from Jenny Hjohlman. Tyreso’s new look side, led by the likes of Marta, Caroline Seger and Veronica Boquete, will have the opportunity to retake top spot on the fledgling ladder should they come away from a difficult midweek trip to Linkopings with all three points.

*Top three: Malmo (6), Umea (6), Tyreso (3) *

*Germany: Wolfsburg stay on the scent *

Vfl Wolfsburg took full advantage of Turbine Potsdam’s absence due to their European commitments by moving within one point of the long-term leaders on the back of a stunning 9-2 win at relegation-haunted Lokomotive Leipzig. Striker Conny Pohlers was undoubtedly the star of the show with a personal haul of five to join Genoveva Anonma of Potsdam with 17 goals for the campaign. Duisburg routed SG Essen-Schonebeck 4-0, with Simone Laudehr twice on the scoresheet, to hold down third just two points off the summit, with Frankfurt a further two points adrift.

Top three: Turbine Potsdam (41 points), VfL Wolfsburg (40), FCR 2001 Duisburg (39)

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