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Quarter-finals get going

Published: Friday 21 March 2014, 9.08CET
The quarter-finals begin on Sunday with VfL Wolfsburg hosting FC Barcelona among three first legs before Birmingham City LFC meet Arsenal LFC on Monday.
by Paul Saffer

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Published: Friday 21 March 2014, 9.08CET

Quarter-finals get going

The quarter-finals begin on Sunday with VfL Wolfsburg hosting FC Barcelona among three first legs before Birmingham City LFC meet Arsenal LFC on Monday.

Press the play button above to watch a preview of the ties.

SCHEDULE
Quarter-finals: 23 & 30 March

Tyresö FF (SWE) v SV Neulengbach (AUT)**
VfL Wolfsburg (GER, holders) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
ASD Torres CF (ITA) v 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam (GER)
*Birmingham City LFC (ENG) v Arsenal LFC (ENG)

*First leg 24 March
**Second leg 29 March

Semi-finals: 19/20 & 26/27 April
Birmingham/Arsenal v Tyresö/Neulengbach
Torres/Potsdam v Wolfsburg/Barcelona

Final (Estádio do Restelo, Lisbon): 22 May
Winner semi-final 1 v Winner semi-final 2

Tyresö FF (SWE) v SV Neulengbach (AUT)
The Swedish debutants are many people's favourites to get straight to the final from their half of the draw but it has been a troubled time at Tyresö recently due to financial problems. Their team, however, remains intact, with Marta, Brazilian signings Fabiana, Rilany, Thiasa and Mayara, United States trio Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Kingenberg, Sweden midfield pair Caroline Seger and Lisa Dahlqvist, plus new Finnish goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela. They began the new Swedish season on Sunday with a 2-0 cup win at Eskilstuna United DFF, Press and Marta scoring. Spain striker Verónica Boquete told UEFA.com: "We know that we have worked hard to prepare and now it's our moment to play without any doubts."

Neulengbach also returned to action with a cup game on Saturday, defeating SK Sturm Graz 2-0 with a pair of goals from Nina Burger, who in the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 equalled Hanna Ljungberg's record of 39 goals for a single female club in Europe. On Tuesday they then visited Sturm in the league and prevailed 2-1 with Burger striking again ahead of their first UEFA quarter-final in their 11th season in the competition. Midfielder Tseng Shu-o could become the first Chinese Taipei player to take part in UEFA competition, but of the tie itself, Burger hopes: "We'll have two great days with everything working well in our team and with all the players; and you need certainly a bit of luck."

VfL Wolfsburg (GER, holders) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
It has been a mixed start to 2014 for the reigning European champions, Wolfsburg slipping in their Frauen Bundesliga defence as they were held 0-0 at holders 1. FFC Frankfurt then lost 3-1 at FC Bayern München before a narrow 3-2 Sunday defeat of USV Jena and 7-0 at VfL Sindelfingen on Wednesday. Still, Wolfsburg beat Barcelona 2-0 in pre-season, have never lost a European game, and in top scorer Conny Pohlers have a player two short of being the first woman to 50 goals in UEFA club competition. However, Nadine Kessler warned: "[Barcelona] have developed in their playing style – they are trying to assimilate the football style that their men's team play. They are technically very strong, so it will be a great challenge for us."

Barcelona, like Neulengbach, are the first team from their country to get this far, continuing their club's bid for a unique quadruple of men's and women's UEFA Champions League, UEFA Youth League and UEFA Futsal Cup. Unbeaten in all competitions since the 4-0 loss to Arsenal LFC in October 2012 that ended their debut European bid in the round of 16, 60 games in all, Barcelona know this is the toughest match in their club's history but Spain winger Alexia Putellas said: "We will be keeping our feet on the ground in terms of realising the task we face."

ASD Torres CF (ITA) v 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam (GER)
Torres bowed out in their previous two quarter-finals, in 2010 and 2013, but go into this tie on a run of seven straight domestic wins with 14 goals in those games from a typically in-form Patrizia Panico, who this month reached a century of strikes for Italy. Surpringly for these experienced European campaigners, this is their first meeting with German opposition. Since the round of 16, they have welcomed midfielder Daniela Stracchi back from injury and signed Iceland striker Hallbera Gísladóttir and Slovenia midfielder Kristina Erman but Silvia Fuselli is suspended on Sunday. Panico said: "It's a very important match, but not only for me – it's important for our club and the entire women's football movement in Italy."

Potsdam may be two-time winners, and aiming for a record-equalling fifth final, but their round of 16 elimination of Olympique Lyonnais was still a surprise. They have looked in fine form since the end of the winter break, a 2-0 win at Jena trumped on Sunday as they overcame Sindelfingen 12-0, including six goals by Genoveva Añonma, and then a 4-0 victory at FCR 2001 Duisburg that has left them top. Maren Mjelde said of Torres: "We need to be as good as we were against Lyon and then I think we can – of course, we should – beat them."

Birmingham City LFC (ENG) v Arsenal LFC (ENG)
For both these sides, Monday's encounter at St Andrew's, home to Birmingham's men, will be the first competitive match of 2014 as England join Germany, France, Russia and Sweden in having a one-nation women's European tie. Birmingham have had the quieter winter, signing defender Meaghan Sargeant, midfielder Remi Allen and forward Hannah Keryakoplis to replace Rachel Unitt, Laura Bassett and Isobel Christiansen. Jo Potter said: "We've strengthened in areas that we needed to strengthen and still having that stability of the squad that are together."

Arsenal, by contrast, have made ten squad changes, Stephanie Houghton, Ellen White, Kim Little, Ciara Grant and Yvonne Tracy leaving, and England captain Casey Stoney, goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain, Japan pair Shinobu Ohno and Yukari Kinga, and Dutch international Anouk Hoogendijk joining. In a record 11th quarter-final, but needing to win this competition to return in 2014/15, they beat Birmingham four times last year, and manager Shelley Kerr said of her much-changed squad, which is missing Jordan Nobbs due to a  back problem: "We have had a lot of friendly games and they are looking really sharp."

Respect: No to Racism
UEFA's pan-European anti-racism campaign was launched after UEFA
and its national associations issued an anti-racism resolution at the UEFA Congress in May 2013.

• At the start of every quarter- and semi-final match, No to Racism banners will be prominently displayed on the pitch
• Team captains will wear No to Racism armbands
• Player escorts will wear RESPECT T-shirts (at selected matches)
• A No to Racism poster which showcases players from the eight teams will be displayed alongside a selection of male footballers

Last updated: 21/03/14 11.50CET

http://www.uefa.com/womenschampionsleague/news/newsid=2073722.html#quarter+finals+going

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