While the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ moves inexorably closer, the business end of the domestic seasons in Europe continues to hold centre stage. Bayern Munich have finally claimed their maiden title and Standard Liege have done likewise, while an unstoppable goal machine has helped Verona return to the spotlight in Italy. FIFA.com’s latest women’s club round-up also takes in the latest from USA and France.
*Germany: New silverware for old name *
Bayern Munich has long been a famous name of world football, and now their women’s team are creating their own niche after winning a maiden Bundesliga title on Sunday. It was a dramatic finale to the season with the destination of the crown in the balance until the last seconds. Holders Wolfsburg went into the final round with a slim one-point advantage, but up against third-placed 1.FFV Frankfurt. Bayern did their part with a routine 2-0 win over the visiting Essen-Schonebeck, meaning Wolfsburg needed all three points in Frankfurt to retain their crown. Spain star Vero Boquete scored early for the home side, who were seeking a boost ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final, and Martina Muller’s equaliser after the break left Wolfsburg just short. Frankfurt’s Celia Sasic is on track to be a key figure for Germany at Canada 2015 after finishing as top goalscorer with 21 strikes, six clear of her nearest rival.
*Top three: Bayern Munich (56 points), Wolfsburg (55), Frankfurt (53) *
*USA: Congestion at the summit *
The jousting at the top of the NWSL table continued on the weekend, despite USA’s national team personnel now away from the action as they prepare for Canada 2015. It was a mixed weekend for Portland Thorns who lost their hold on top spot, yet stretched their unbeaten home run at Providence Park to eight matches. Another bumper crowd of 14,000 saw Washington Spirit take an early two-goal lead before being pegged back, with Allie Long securing a second-half equaliser for Portland. Rookie Sofia Huerta comfortably filled the void left by USA striker Christen Press to bag a double and an assist as Chicago Red Stars jumped to the top with a 3-0 win over the visiting Boston Breakers. The Mexican international, who scored the goal of the tournament at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012, was making her first full 90-minute appearance in the NWSL.
*Top three: Chicago Red Stars (10), FC Kansas City (9), Portland Thorns (8) *
*France: Schelin’s personal glory *
Paris Saint-Germain secured a win ahead of Thursday’s trip to Berlin for the UEFA Women’s Champions League final. The capital club rounded out their domestic campaign with a 3-0 victory although they were held scoreless by bottom-side Arras until half-time. The Parisians finished six points off Lyon who recently won their ninth successive league crown. Lyon secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Guingamp on the back of a Lotta Schelin double, with the Swede securing her second top goalscorer title in the past three seasons.
*Top three: Lyon (88), Paris Saint-Germain (82), Juvisy (67) *
There was championship joy also in the *Belgium/Netherlands *league as Standard Liege finally tasted success after finishing the past two seasons as runners-up behind FC Twente. This time the Belgians finished two points clear of their Dutch rivals thanks to a 2-0 final-day win over PSV/FC Eindhoven. It is the third and final year of the joint competition, which will revert back to a traditional domestic format next season.
Meanwhile, Verona ended a six-year title drought in *Italy *by maintaining a one-point lead over Brescia on the final day thanks to a 3-1 win at Zaccaria. Verona’s evergreen striker Patrizia Panico maintained her astonishing record as Italy’s goal queen with the 40-year-old nabbing her tenth *capocannoniere *crown in the past 11 seasons, and 14th overall.