It has been a slow start to the German Women’s Bundesliga this year, with the first matchday featuring only two fixtures. The same was true of the second round of games, due a raft of postponements caused by the German U-20 team reaching the later stages of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2012 in Japan. In France, champions Olympique Lyon laid down a marker on opening day, while Malmo remain comfortably top of the pile in Sweden.
FIFA.com reviews the latest action in Germany, Sweden, France and England.
Germany: Frankfurt slip to surprise defeat
There was a rude awakening for mighty FFC Frankfurt in the second round of matches in the Bundesliga. The seven-time German champions started the campaign with a win on opening day, but fell 3-1 to SGS Essen at the weekend and missed the chance to establish an early lead in the standings. Melanie Hoffmann struck a brace and Charline Hartmann added another for Essen, with Melanie Behringer netting a penalty for Frankfurt.
In the other weekend fixture, FSV Gutersloh comfortably beat fellow top-flight newcomers VfL Sindelfingen 4-0 courtesy of Maren Wallenhorst, Rebecca Granz and a Marie Pollmann double strike. Sindelfingen remain rooted to the foot of the embryonic table after a second defeat in two matches.
Top three: Turbine Potsdam, FSV Gutersloh, SGS Essen (3 points each)
France: Free-scoring Lyon explode off the blocks
Olympique Lyon opened the new campaign in Division 1 Feminin with a thumping win, conclusively underlining their status as the current powerhouse of French women’s football. Coach Patrice Lair’s team walloped Rodez AF 8-0, with Laetitia Tonazzi, Camille Abily, Ami Otaki and Lotta Schelin all scoring two goals apiece to send Lyon straight to the top of the nascent standings.
However, last season’s runners-up FCF Juvisy gave notice that the champions cannot expect to have things all their own way, as coach Sandrine Mathivet’s side ran up a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Arras Football. By contrast, it was a modest start for Paris Saint-Germain, who were held 1-1 by EA Guingamp.
Top three: Olympique Lyon, FCF Juvisy, FF Yzeure (4 points each)
Sweden: Ninth straight victory for Malmo
Malmo beat Jitex 2-0 and currently lie five points clear of chief pursuers Tyreso at the top of the Damallsvenskan. Sofia Anker-Kofoed and Ramona Bachmann sealed Malmo’s ninth three-pointer on the spin, although Tyreso can cut the arrears to just two points should they beat Orebro on Tuesday. It looks more than ever like a two-horse race now, as third-placed Vittsjo fell 13 points off the leaders due to a 3-2 reverse against Umea IK.
There was no movement at the foot of the table either, with AIK Fotball and Djurgarden still deep in trouble on ten and nine points respectively.
Top three: Malmo (42), Tyreso (37), Vittsjo (29)
England: Arsenal maintain unbeaten record
Champions-elect Arsenal continue to set the standards in the Women’s Super League (WSL). In the 12th round of matches, the female Gunners narrowly beat Lincoln City LFC 2-1 to retain their five-point lead at the top.
"First half we played well, just lacked a little bit of composure in front of goal," Arsenal boss Laura Harvey was quoted as saying on the WSL website. "I thought second half we were poor, we took our foot off the pedal and we played like we were five-nil up – which we weren’t. All right first half, but I wasn’t pleased with the second half.”
Harvey and Co. are not quite home and dry yet, however, as Everton and Birmingham City maintained the pressure on the undefeated leaders. Everton beat Chelsea 2-1, and Birmingham overcame Liverpool 5-2.
Top three: Arsenal Ladies (27), Everton (22), Birmingham City (21)