Women's Football

Leaders show class, Japan clubs show style

Noelle Maritz, Lena Goessling, Isabel Kerschowski, Martina Mueller, Caroline Graham Hansen, Vanessa Bernauer of Wolfsburg celebrate
© Getty Images

This week in women’s club football was highlighted by a massive match-up in Germany where Wolfsburg saw off 1.FFC Frankfurt to leap to the pack of the pack at the midway point of the season. Australian leaders Perth Glory continued their winning form led by the irrepressible Sam Kerr, while it is the nation’s youngsters that are coming to the fore in New Zealand. Finally to Japan and the opening matches in the International Women’s Club Championship as the local sides turned on a show of strength.

*Germany: Wolfsburg halfway there *
Reigning German queens Wolfsburg have taken another step towards claiming their third successive domestic crown after defeating seven-time winners 1.FFC Frankfurt to be ‘halfway champions’. First-half goals from Martina Muller and Lena Gossling were enough for the European champions to hold off the visitors’ all-star attacking line-up including Celia Sasic, the league’s runaway leading goalscorer. The result combined with a surprise scoreless draw for Bayern Munich at Essen, saw Wolfsburg open up a two-point lead at the summit. Turbine Potsdam joined traditional rivals Frankfurt in a share of third but only after a hard-fought 3-2 comeback win at Jena, which required a late Julia Simic winner
*Top three: Wolfsburg (29 points), Bayern Munich (27), 1.FFC Frankfurt, Turbine Potsdam (both 25) *

*Australia: Kerr maintains Perth’s glory *Runaway league leaders Perth Glory maintained their stunning form by inflicting a record 5-0 defeat on perennial title challengers Sydney FC. Pacy forward Sam Kerr, following a breakthrough season in USA’s NWSL, turned in a virtuoso performance scoring her maiden league hat-trick including two superb individual goals. Canberra United saw their semi-final hopes suffer a blow with a 2-1 defeat at Brisbane Roar as Katrina Gorry cracked home a spectacular 35-metre effort just hours before jetting out to Manila where she was crowned AFC Player of the Year. Heading into the final round Glory and second-placed Melbourne Victory have nailed down a finals berth leaving Sydney FC, Canberra United and Newcastle Jets fighting for two remaining spots.
*Top three: Perth Glory (30), Melbourne Victory (20), Canberra United, Sydney FC (both 17) *

*New Zealand: Future looks bright *
The New Zealand Development side moved into next weekend’s season decider against champions Mainland Pride after an impressive 5-1 win over Capital Football. The NZ Development squad – a team featuring elite U-18 players who hope to form the basis of the 2016 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup side – impressed with a four-goal second-half showing against their older opponents. The young side earned their final berth courtesy of a hat-trick from New Zealand youth international Martine Puketapu.

*International Women’s Club Championship: Hosts open on course *
The third edition of the annual Japan-based international club tournament started in positive fashion for Japan’s two representatives. Nadeshiko League opening stage champions Okayama Yunogo Belle eased to a 5-0 win over Australian counterparts Melbourne Victory. Manami Nakano and Saori Arimachi both scored doubles, while AFC Player of the Year nominee Aya Miyama was also on the scoresheet, as the Mimasaka side set up a meeting with Arsenal. In Sunday’s second match Urawa Red Diamonds claimed a comfortable 5-1 win over China PR side Jiangsu Huatai, with South American champions Sao Jose awaiting in the midweek semi-final.

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