Barça’s run ends as Bayern close in
FIFA.com reports on a weekend of mixed emotions for some of the leading lights in women’s club football, with disappointment for Barcelona and joy for the likes of Bayern Munich, Brondby and Melbourne City.
Germany: Bayern narrow the gap With leaders Turbine Potsdam enjoying the weekend off, Bayern Munich seized the chance to erode the leaders’ advantage with a hard-fought win over 1.FFC Frankfurt. Bundesliga goals continue to prove hard to come by for the reigning champions but one was enough on this occasion, with Nicole Rolser’s first top-flight strike since March sufficient to see off the 2015 UEFA Women’s Champions League winners. SGS Essen, meanwhile, moved ahead of Wolfsburg into fourth with an impressive 4-0 win at USV Jena, with Japan international Kozue Ando among the scorers. Duisburg also doubled the distance between themselves and the stile pointless bottom side Borussia Monchengladbach with a vital 1-0 win at home to Hoffenheim. *Top three: Turbine Potsdam (21), Bayern Munich (19), Freiburg (17)
Spain: Levante gain ground as Barça falter Barcelona’s nine-match winning run came to a shock end on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Real Betis. Paula Moreno was the hosts’ heroine, striking 12 minutes from time to add the first blemish to the Catalans’ erstwhile perfect league record in 2016/17. Fortunately for Barcelona, these dropped points did not cost them any significant ground in the race for the title. The reason for that is that title rivals Atletico Madrid and Valencia also played out a 1-1 draw in which Amanda Sampredo and Maria Paz were on target. That left unheralded Levante as the big winners of the weekend, with a 2-1 victory at Oiartzun allowing them to open up a four-point gap on Valencia and move level on points with Atletico. As for reigning champions Athletic Bilbao, they remain 12 points off the pace despite ending a miserable three-match losing run by beating UDG Tenerife Sur 2-0. *Top three: Barcelona 28, Atletico Madrid, Levante (both 26)
Denmark: Top two shine ahead of showdown With runaway Danish leaders Brondby and Fortuna Hjorring set to meet in the final matchday of the regular season on Saturday, the stage is perfectly set. The pair remain unbeaten and are now 16 points clear of the chasing pack after a weekend in which they registered two very different victories. Fortuna’s could hardly have been any more dramatic, with Sarah Hansen sealing a 3-2 win away to third place KoldingQ in the 93rd-minute – this after the hosts had already struck twice in stoppage time to seemingly snatch a draw. It was altogether more serene for Brondby, meanwhile, who bolstered their advantageous goal difference at the top with a thumping 10-0 win over bottom side Varde. Fortuna will, though, have home advantage for Saturday’s mouth-watering showdown, and will hope that gives them the chance to head into the play-offs as regular-season champions. *Top three: Brondby, Fortuna Hjorring (both 37), KoldingQ (21)
Australia: City set the pace Reigning champions Melbourne City have picked up this season where they left off in their debut, title-winning campaign. After just two games, they already have a lead to protect, having emerged from the weekend with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Canberra United. That left City as the only team still to drop points after Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory fought out a goalless draw. The big result of the weekend came in Melbourne, meanwhile, with Melbourne Victory soundly beaten 4-0 at home by Newcastle Jets. The visitors were three goals up inside a dazzling opening 23 minutes, with American duo Megan Oyster and Arin Gilliland among the scorers. Top three: Melbourne City (6), Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar (both 4)