The Frauen-Bundesliga title race has been thrown wide open after 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam were held twice after the end of the winter break while UEFA Women's Champions League holders Olympique Lyonnais marched on in the French Cup.
Potsdam played in the first German top-flight game of 2012 on Wednesday and, as they began life without departed striker Anja Mittag, Turbine drew 1-1 at lowly Hamburger SV, needing a Patricia Hanebeck equaliser 17 minutes from time. Then, on Sunday, bottom side Bayer 04 Leverkusen visited Potsdam and also came away with a 1-1 result to halt a run of seven straight defeats. Leverkusen led on 36 minutes through Eunice Beckmann, then held on after Viola Odebrecht swiftly levelled. Coach Bernd Schröder announced after the game that Odebrecht, Babett Peter and Bianca Schmidt would be leaving in the summer after turning down new contracts.
That allowed FCR 2001 Duisburg, who have a game in hand, to close to within three points of Potsdam as they beat Hamburg 3-1. A point further back, and having played the same number of matches as Turbine, are their fellow UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finalists 1. FFC Frankfurt, who resumed their campaign by thrashing 1. FC Lokomotiv Leipzig 4-0, Fatmire Bajramaj, Sandra Smisek, Melanie Behringer and Kerstin Garefrekes – who has signed a new deal for the 2012/13 season – scoring. Wolfsburg are three points adrift of Frankfurt with two games in hand after their trip to SC Bad Neuenahr was postponed. Fixtures now stop for a fortnight due to the Algarve Cup.
Bad weather means that Lyon have not played a league match in more than a month, leaving them three points behind FCF Juvisy Essonne, though with a game in hand. Nonetheless, they got their French Cup challenge under way on 29 January when they saw off FCF Yzeure Allier Auverge 6-0, and then went to RC Saint-Étienne last Wednesday and won 4-0, Lara Dickenmann scoring twice. They will play in the last 16 on 11 March.
Three days later they have the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final against Brøndby IF, who, like the rest of the sides still involved in the competition, are yet to restart or begin their domestic seasons. Brøndby, though, have been busy with friendlies, notably drawing 1-1 with Frankfurt's European opponents WFC Malmö and 0-0 with another Swedish team, Tyresö FF, who brought on Marta for her club debut. On Saturday the Brazilian struck in a 7-0 victory at IK Skovbakken.
Like the Swedish sides, Arsenal LFC are in close-season mode but now know their first competitive fixture of 2012 – a trip to FA Women's Super League rivals Lincoln LFC in the FA Women's Cup last 16 on 11 March, three days before the visit of Göteborg FC. That team got to the final of the Vaxjo Cup last week, losing 2-0 to Linköping FC, while they also signed United States Under-23 forward Christen Press.
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