In Germany, Bayern Munich have become the first club to supply both women's and men's cup finalists in the same season, as the Munich ladies earned a showdown with FFC Frankfurt. The new campaign is underway in one of Europe's strongest leagues, the Swedish Damallsvenskan, while there were no changes at the top in Spain or Italy. FIFA.com rounds up the latest events in selected women's leagues around Europe.
Germany: Drama in Cup semi-finals
The Bundesliga took an Easter break, but four clubs went in search of coveted places in the DFB Women's Cup final. The first semi-final between FFC Frankfurt and FCR Duisburg at Brentanobad Stadium in Frankfurt ended 2-2 after normal and extra time and had to be settled on penalties, with the home side prevailing 5-4 in the shoot-out. Frankfurt’s hero was keeper Desiree Schumann, who excelled in the game and saved two spot-kicks for good measure.
Coach Sven Kahlert’s side now proceed to the final on 12 May in Cologne, where they meet Bayern Munich. The FCB women ran out comfortable winners of their semi-final against Hamburg, chalking up a 5-2 success at their home Ascheim ground. Former FC Gold Pride and Boston Breakers defender Nicole Cross scored twice and fellow US import Sarah Hagen grabbed a hat-trick for Bayern, with Marie Louise Bagehorn and Aferdita Kameraj replying for the visitors.
Sweden: Perfect start for champions Malmo
The new campaign in the Swedish Damallsvenskan, without question one of the strongest leagues in Europe, finally got underway on Monday. Twelve teams set off in search of the coveted league title, places in the UEFA Women's Champions League, or at worst a fight against relegation. On Matchday 1, champions FC Malmo made the perfect start with a 4-1 victory away to Jitex. Amanda Ilestedt, Lina Nilsson, Elin Rubensson and Anja Mittag hit the target for coach Martin Sjogren’s side.
Tyreso FF opened their season with a thumping 7-0 victory over Orebro and moved straight to the top of the embryonic league table. Brazil superstar Marta started the season in ominously good form with a brace. Seven-time champions Umea lie third after a 4-1 win against Vittsjo.
Top three: Tyreso (3 points), Malmo (3), Umea (3)
Italy: Rivals falter as Sassari Torres stretch lead
Form team Sassari Torres took another giant stride towards the Serie A title with a 4-1 victory over bottom club GS Roma. The leaders’ 17th victory in 20 matches came courtesy of a Sandy Iannella brace and a goal apiece from Patricia Panico and Valentina Maglia. Coach Salvatori Arca’s side had extra reasons to celebrate, as they are now four points clear at the top due to second-placed Bardolino’s 1-0 defeat against ACF Milan, Agnese Rocco scoring the only goal of the game. To complete the chasing pack's misery, third-placed ACF Brescia slipped further off the pace with a 2-0 defeat at home to Tavagnacco.
Top three: Sassari Torres (53), Bardolino Verona (49), ACF Brescia (47)
Spain: No change at top or bottom
Following a two-week break, the Spanish Primera Division Femenina returned to action this weekend, with Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol continuing to lead the way. The Barcelona women cruised to a 4-0 victory over Llanos Olivenza, but Bilbao ensured the gap remains constant at four points with a 3-1 victory of their own against Rayo Vallecano. Espanyol are a distant third but cemented their grip on that spot with a 4-1 success against Sant Gabriel. There was no change at the wrong end of the table either, as Reocin Racing and El Olivo continue to prop up the standings.
Top three: Barcelona (76), Athletic Bilbao (72), Espanyol (62)