European champions Lyon appear to be in unstoppable form in France, and it is a similar scenario in Japan for INAC Kobe Leonessa, who also seem on target to retain their crown. Frankfurt’s erratic form continued in Germany as one of their silverware targets disappeared, following a painful early cup exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in a repeat of last year’s decider. FIFA.com’s weekly review also takes in the latest from the fledgling joint league in Belgium and the Netherlands.
*Japan: Title holders march on *Champions INAC Kobe Leonessa continued their irresistible form since the mid-season break with an overwhelming 7-2 win against JEF United. Megumi Takase and Shinobu Ohno both led the way scoring doubles, putting Homare Sawa and Co firmly on track to retain their crown with five rounds remaining. Second-placed NTV Beleza fell seven points off the pace after being held 1-1 by mid-table Iga FC Kunoichi. Okayama Belle Yunogo are breathing down the necks of the multi-championship winning Beleza, and now sit just one point in arrears after a 4-1 win at Sperenza Osaka.
*Top three: INAC Leonessa Kobe (37 points), NTV Beleza (30), Okayama Belle Yunogo (29) *
*Germany: Bayern again prove Frankfurt’s nightmare *Attention turned to the cup in Germany over the weekend as second round fixtures took place, highlighted by a repeat of last year’s final as Bayern Munich met league leaders 1.FFC Frankfurt, with the Bavarians again triumphing. After a scoreless 90 minutes the pair exchanged goals during extra time, with Bayern winning 5-3 on penalties after national team star Simone Laudehr missed for Frankfurt. Five of the 12 Bundesliga teams saw their cup dreams extinguished, with FSV Gutersloh and VfL Sindelfingen falling to second-tier clubs. The former’s 3-1 defeat at Herforder SV particularly painful after they claimed second in the early-season Bundesliga table during midweek thanks to a 1-1 draw at Frankfurt.
Belgium/Netherlands: Frontrunners maintain momentum *Ajax Amsterdam continue *to impress with their foray into women’s football at the top level, and are sitting third in the BeNe Orange table of the new combined Belgium and Netherlands league. Featuring a side full of Dutch internationals, Ajax were twice pegged back by FCE/PSV before drawing 2-2 to remain a point clear of their rivals. FC Twente moved four points clear thanks to a crucial 2-1 win against ADO Den Haag in a top-of-the-table meeting on Monday, with Anouk Dekker grabbing a second-half winner. North of the border Standard Liege remained perfect in the BeNe Red standings with a 2-0 victory over Anderlecht to record their sixth win from as many starts. Second-placed Saint Truiden slipped five points off the pace after being held 1-1 by nearest challengers Lierse.
*Top three (BeNe Orange): FC Twente (16 points), ADO Den Haag (12), Ajax Amsterdam (10)
Top three (BeNe Red): Standard Liege (18 points), Saint Truiden (13), Lierse (11) *
*France: Goal-queens Lyon run riot *Champions Lyon continue to reach new heights securing a remarkable 13-0 win over an outclassed FC Vendenheim. Elodie Thomis, Camille Abily and Laetitia Tonazzi each scored trebles as the European champions took their goal tally to 36 in just four matches. Juvisy’s title ambitions suffered a huge blow with a 1-0 defeat at Yzeure. The Parisians fell to fifth as Montpellier took a firm grip on second with their 3-0 victory at Arras, helped by a double for Marie-Laure Delie.
Top three: Lyon (16 points), Montpellier (14), Yzeure (13)